Icarus Falling

Scott Wings has taken this classical myth and twisted it like beaten metal. In his hands, or words, it becomes a dynamic fusion of spoken word, physical theatre, comedy and poetry. A few minutes in, Wings declares that ‘poetry is running circles in my head.’ His brand of spoken word is totally idiosyncratic, personal and zany. This is a mesmerising hour of lyrical storytelling which unflinchingly explores mental illness using the metaphor of flight.

This show is a heartrending exploration of one man’s battle with mental illness, which unlocks an imaginative and funny door into the world of classical mythology.

The small stage space is littered with feathers, signifying the disastrous results of the waxen feathery wings when pitted against the sun. Wings frames the show with a highly physical representation of flight, beating his arms (or rather wings) and shouting ‘Open! Close!’ He expertly holds a range of styles and themes in tension throughout the show.

Wings is part-poet, part-rapper. His theme swings between retelling the Icarus myth and his experience of mental illness. The genius of the concept lies in the way in which he ties the soaring highs and lows of flight with those of manic depression. The story is punctuated by digressions that blend seamlessly into the narrative. One example is when Wings depicts the turbulent father-son relationship between Daedelus and Icarus. Daedelus, portrayed using grotesque physical body language, labels his son a ‘cliché’ for living in a dream-world, collecting feathers and writing poems in the dust. Icarus’ response melds into Wings’ own personal experience, becoming an extended poetic monologue on clichés that is at once realistic, angry, bitter and heartfelt. He weaves eccentric imagery into the fabric of his verse, at one point becoming lost in ‘my own pet black hole on a chain.’ He uses the metaphor of ‘bottled lightning’ as a vehicle for his frustration, stretching the conceit for a good ten minutes. At one point he reaches for the ‘jar’ containing this lightning, pulling it out of the air, and asks an audience member to hold on to it. This poetic, physical device is an inspired touch, revealing the dangers of bottling up raw emotion.

The diversity of styles that Wings has drawn upon in creating this hour of physical storytelling is especially evident in the musicality of the piece. There is a tangible hip-hop influence, which can be subtly felt in the flowing rhythms of his spoken word. He controls the dynamics carefully, giving the impression of barely contained mania. The verse frequently slips into iambic pentameter: ‘My wings are burst hearts and spinal fluid.’

The audience was held in thrall as the painstakingly personal, poetic monologue unravelled, like the thread in the Minotaurs’ labyrinth prison. This show is a heartrending exploration of one man’s battle with mental illness, which unlocks an imaginative and funny door into the world of classical mythology.

Reviews by Sarah Grice

theSpace @ Surgeons Hall

Glue

★★★
Assembly Hall

Simon Callow in Juvenalia

★★★
C venues - C nova

Icarus Falling

★★★★★
C venues - C

Mercury Fur

★★★★
Assembly George Square Gardens

Best of Burlesque

★★★
theSpace @ Venue45

Dido and Aeneas

★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Physical theatre, comedy and poetry combine in Scott Wings' fantasy tale Icarus Falling. Set inside the mythical Icarus as he plummets to the sea, this play explores gender, identity and love, all to a hip-hop soundtrack with feathers and wax. Highly imaginative, hilarious and raw, Icarus Falling is a testament to the space between the sun and the sea.

Most Popular See More

SIX

From £29.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Life of Pi

From £19.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £13.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Only Fools and Horses - The Musical

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Hairspray

From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets