Fringe Review: Fight or Flight

Published: Sat 3 Mar 2007 04:18 PM
Fringe Review: Fight or FlightReview by Lyndon Hood

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Fight or Flight
Brave Productions
Bats Theatre
2 – 10 March, 6.30pm
60 minutes
$15 / $12 / $10
Set on one of the biggest panic-magnets of our age – an aircraft with a destination in the USA – Fight or Fight plays with fears ranging from simple social anxiety to paralysing terror. There is a great deal of entertainment to be had at the lower levels, and the whole production does leave you with at least something to think about.
The characters, three very different women and an equally different male flight attendant, are waiting for takeoff. Some suspicious luggage, apparently packed in the hold for an man with an arab name who has not shown up to board, effectively triggers a slow-acting contagious fear bomb.
The the actor/writers have devised characters with their own personal traumas or neuroses that are triggered as the panic rises. The personalities they have produced are intruiging to watch even in their 'normal' state as they reveal more and more of themselves through some initial voiced-over thoughts, abstracted inner-life sequences and the hilariously recognisable subtleties of social interaction that are writ large throughout the play. Their idosyncracies become even more pronounced under stress, and we discover that the weirdest are not necessarily the least sane.
There is more than a nod, in the setting and events, to the state of our times, when we are sufficiently prey to fear that the President of the United States can declare war on terror and that seems to make sense. The interchange where Helen, the academic in the aisle seat, tried to explain her specialty goes something like:"Well... have you seen Bowling for Columbine?"
"Nah. Have you seen Riding in Cars with Boys? It's a good one."The broader awareness has clearly shaped to production, but, as in this example, overall it takes a back seat to the details of character and interaction.
I might have liked to see more detail on how each stage of the rising group hysteria worked; this seems to be taken as given, the focus on what the chacters did when they got there. Dramatically speaking, the characters don't actually have to deal with their terrors or each other's; the whole emotional explosion collapses as their climactic panic is shown to be effectively baseless. On the other hand, I suppose that a fair reflection of the world.
Ultimately Fight or Flight showcases the interactions of it characters as the juice gradually gets turned up higher. All very likeable and recognisable, also – with a few streaks of uneasiness thrown in – very funny.
Fight or Flight press release
Brave Theatre website
Fringe Festival website
Scoop Full Coverage: Fringe 07
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