Latymer Theatre Company’s Flight of the Lawnchair Man is the sweet tale of an average man who dreams of something more. A bright and optimistic musical about the importance of following your dreams, it doesn’t break much new ground but is a diverting and well-executed youth production.
The story by Peter Ullian drags a little once Jerry gets in the air – his battle to get up there is full of twists, turns and drama but once he finally achieves his dream of flight, things stall.
Jerry Gorman (Joel Coussins), our average hero, lives in the picture-perfect Passaic, New Jersey, where nothing is older than the 1960’s and the Wal-Mart smells only of delicious popcorn. Jerry works amongst the popcorn aroma of the Wal-Mart and has just received a big promotion, which is the talk of Passaic. The only problem is that Jerry doesn’t want to be a manager at Wal-Mart. However, his mother (Hana Jarrah) and the people of Passaic don’t understand: this is Jerry’s chance to become an adult and have a decent life. Only girlfriend Gracie (Alice Moore) supports Jerry in his quest to fly, no matter what the cost.
Flight of the Lawnchair Man starts with the garishly clothed and bewigged Stepford Wives and Husbands of Passaic singing happily about their perfect town. Some cynical lyrics hint that all might not be as it appears in Passaic but mostly the residents are happy to ignore the inconsistencies. Music by Robert Lindsey-Nassif is upbeat and pleasant. Lyrics, also by Lindsey-Nassif, are well written and concise, favouring neat and fun wordplay. Coussins is suitably downtrodden as the unlikely hero and Moore is endearing as the ever-optimistic Gracie. An energetic song by Leonardo da Vinci (Eve Delaney) and a comic duet between Captain Big Jack Preston (AJ Lewis) and air stewardess Blaire (Maisie Preston) as they see Jerry flying in his unlikely vehicle, are highlights.
The story by Peter Ullian drags a little once Jerry gets in the air – his battle to get up there is full of twists, turns and drama but once he finally achieves his dream of flight, things stall. Some of the solo singing sounds a bit tired and strained, though the chorus numbers are lovely.
A full-throttled flight of fancy, Flight of the Lawnchair Man is a cheerful and sincere desire for the freedom to pursue one’s dreams. Performed with such conviction by the youthful cast, it is very difficult to deny them their aspirations.