Friday, September 22

After this Plane has Landed – The Space @ Surgeons Hall

I had to see this musical out of guilt.

John McCarthy was incarcerated in Beirut while I was mourning my mother’s passing. His capture wasn’t even a teardrop amid my grief.

Five years later, I gave birth to my first born. A friend sent a message excitedly proclaiming it is the day that John McCarthy is released. Who? Nothing compared to the miracle of ten tiny toes and ten little fingers. A real human being who’d lodged in my womb for nine dark months had finally escaped.

Then, just 32 years later, almost to the day, this play appears. I can now pay attention.

Exit Productions “After This Plane Has Landed” provides a one-hour precis of The Friends of John McCarthy, Jill Morrell’s quest to free her then boyfriend, and the pressure upon their relationship once they are reunited.

Written by Adrian Kimberlin, directed by Alan Magor and featuring the talents of Benedict Powell and Claire Russell, After This Plane Has Landed works.

Unfortunately, the lighting was misplaced a few times, leaving the actor singing in the dark, but such is the Fringe where theatre companies have to set up and strike in the blink of an eye. Worse still was the intrusive noise from the crowd gathered in the courtyard. Regardless, the actors continued with professionalism and commitment. As a play that acknowledged it was a play, fighting for the limelight worked.

I particularly liked the concept of the London Underground announcements introducing a new scene. The recurring refrains suggested a claustrophobic, sweaty, cramped commuter on their daily grind. This servitude counterposed the isolation of McCarthy in his foreign prison.

A light musical about a dark subject.

The programme reminds us that in 2023, 538 journalists and media workers are detained worldwide.

Playing August 4th-12th/14th-26th at 15.55 (one hour),

Reviewer: Kathleen Mansfield

Reviewed: 4th August 2023

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.