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 The Theatreguide.London Review


Flight Path
Bush Theatre Autumn 2007

David Watson's new play is modest and amiable, earnest and well-meaning. It is also rather shapeless and rhythmless and thus, sadly, rather tedious, its 95 minute length seeming much longer.

Watson's subject is a year in the life of teenager Jonathan. His parents are separated and mainly absent, school and work take up much of his day, his best friend is a small-scale crook, and his Downs Syndrome brother is both a joy to have around and a constant burden.

Not much happens in the course of the year - indeed, it is only carefully planted references to the weather or calendar that give any indication of time passing. Jonathan outgrows his buddy, finds a girlfriend, copes as best he can with his family. At the end he seems marginally more mature and marginally happier than he was, and so the play stops.

But playwright Watson really hasn't shown us the path of Jonathan's growth, such as it is, and shown us even less about the other characters, most of whom end the play exactly as they began it (The buddy does get bitter and plot revenge, and then simply disappears from the action without explanation.)

So, while whatever is supposed to be happening isn't happening, we keep waiting for it to happen, and that makes the play drag.

Granted, Watson is young - this is his second full-length play - but director Naomi Jones has not guided him to rise above his limitations or found a way to disguise them.

If you accept that what you see in each character in the first few moments is just about all there will be to them, then Cary Crankson as Jonathan, Scott Swadkins as his brother and Ashley Madekwe as his girl give pleasant enough performances.

But Flight Path remains the idea for a play that really needed a few more drafts.

Gerald Berkowitz

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Review - Flight Path - Bush 2007