A sense of instability permeates Stef Smith’s play. By the end the world feels on the verge of collapse.
Toni (Amanda Wright) and Jane (Louise Ludgate) mask this well. They’re both flight attendants, equipped with the reassuring smiles and mannerisms of their profession. But beneath the surface, they’re struggling.
Jane has two kids and invests all her time and money, her whole self, in trying to create the perfect home for them. Toni is caught in a toxic relationship. She does not want children and does not feel valued by the world. She does not feel seen.
Smith’s stylised text has a rhythmic quality. Imagery of blood and sand ripples through the writing. In one particularly potent scene, Jane inserts her hand into a crack in the bathroom wall and discovers that her home is crumbling.
Wright and Ludgate, crisply uniformed in turquoise and vermillion, contribute to this air of unsteadiness, while also conveying the sense that these women have been friends for years.
But both the play and Bryony Shanahan’s production feel contained and rather repetitive – on the cusp of becoming something richer and more vivid, but never quite achieving it. It never ascends.
Kai Fischer’s set is particularly inspired, suggesting a state of transience, evoking blank-windowed anonymous hotel rooms in cities around the world, while also cleverly suggests disruption and breakdown – both emotional and global.