Jah’z Lounge, 7 Cinema Place, off Rundle Street
Reviewed Monday February 22nd 2010 (See Fringe guide for dates, times, etc.)
Presented by CW Productions.
Bookings: Fringetix & Venuetix outlets
There is something very appropriate about the fact that actor, Leof Kingsford-Smith, grand-nephew of the pioneer aviator Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith, is playing the role of another pioneer aviator, Bill Lancaster, in a play depicting the days following his crash whilst flying the Southern Cross Minor, a single seat biplane previously owned by Charles Kingsford-Smith. He crashed in the middle of the hottest and most desolate part of the Sahara Desert with only a minimal amount of water and no food.
Written by Gerry Greenland and directed by Damian Lay the play uses extracts from the pilot’s logbook, courts transcripts and Bill Lancaster’s letters to create an accurate, authentic depiction of the week that followed the crash, interspersed with the story of his life and his affair with the famous aviatrix Jesse “Chubbie” Miller. Both were married to other people at the time.
Leof Kingsford-Smith, therefore, presents two stories, that of Lancaster’s attempts to survive the harshest desert conditions, with no provisions and just a desperate hope of discovery, that slowly begins to fade, and the love story of Lancaster and ‘Chubbie’, beginning on the battlefields of World War I and taking us right through to the crash. On a tiny stage, with the wing tip of the damaged biplane for a set, and clad in period flying gear, he beautifully recreates the character of Lancaster in a marvellously intimate and engaging performance that will move you.
There are little gems that appear at every Fringe, and this is one of them.
Reviewed by Barry Lenny, GLAM Adelaide Arts Editor.