Woman! Pilot! Pirate?

Upstage, an interesting wooden contraption with folded calico sails. Stage left, a tech desk replete with a mic, keyboard and the paraphernalia of auditory potential. We are intrigued from the off as Woman! Pilot! Pirate? launches into a cornucopia of clowning accompanied by a veritable pick n’ mix of auricular effects, musical fragments and funny voices.

Effective and imaginative.

Emmy’s slow-motion entrance as she embarks on her voyage of discovery is full of innocent wonder as she teasingly invites us to join her in her journey of make-believe to discover her missing hero – Amelia Earhart.

In Emmy’s world, objects are a constant source of intrigue and transformation; the bag is a radio; the map a posh frock and the wooden apparatus a vessel of nautical and aeronautical metamorphosis. Her odyssey into the unknown is accompanied imaginatively with an eclectic mix of sounds, music, echo and voice over. This aural feast quickly becomes an integral part of the narrative confidently picking us, the audience, up and tucking us into its pocket allowing us to safely navigate strange worlds as we hitch a lift into unknown landscapes. Indeed, the creative use of sound becomes so integral to the narrative that it serves as a rather stage-struck third cast member.

We willingly collude in Emmy’s ingenuous fascination with the world. She is appealing, and the audience clearly appreciates her playful physicality and mime. There is a delightful scene when the two characters engage in a flirtation; their passion escalating into increasingly absurd rituals of seduction. Another entertaining interlude is when Emmy is transported further down the rabbit hole when she imbibes an hallucinatory substance and is thrust further into a chaotic world of fantasy where nothing is quite as it seems.

One cannot fault the performers commitment and sense of fun; their physicality is spot on and there are some inspiring moments of tomfoolery. Effective and imaginative use of lighting adds to the overall through-the-looking glass effect. What doesn’t quite deliver is the narrative which is confusing rather than enlightening. Presenting a world of fragmented experience can be compelling and enriching, but a more coherent telling of the story would have ultimately made our voyage as an audience more satisfying.

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.
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Theatre MAD
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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Amelia Earhart has been missing for 81 years. Emmy thinks this is wrong. She intends to rescue her hero. Frustrated by the limitations of her life, she intends to build, sail and fight her way to Amelia. It will be dangerous. It will be beautiful. Woman! Pilot! Pirate? looks at just how far one person will go to rescue their hero. As a new world of pirate ships and haunting music unfolds around

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