"Flare Path" (Griffin Theatre): Romantic Casualties of War

"Flare Path" (Griffin Theatre):  Romantic Casualties of War

Griffin Theatre Company presents FLARE PATH.  It’s WWII. The Falcon Hotel is on the edge of the Royal Air Force (RAF) base.  It’s the ideal location for servicemen to have reunion visits with their wives.  Teddy’s wife Patricia just arrived from London.  She is an actress in-between plays.  Teddy’s romantic plans are thwarted when a late night mission is scheduled.  Patricia and the other wives are left at the Falcon waiting for their husbands’ safe returns.  But they aren’t alone, a handsome movie star has unexpectedly arrived to spend the night.  FLARE PATH illuminates the romantic casualties of war.

Playwright Terence Rattigan penned a war story from the civilians’ perspectives.  Rattigan, who served in the RAF, effectively creates believable and human responses to love and duty during wartime.  His characters reveal layers of depth as the story unfolds.  Under the skillful direction of Robin Witt, each character remains distinct in accent and interactions.  The ensemble is perfectly in sync as a group of people thrown together because of war.

The old-fashioned formality contrasts with the marital familiarity.  The use of *darling* is an over-the-top, guilty delight.  (why don’t people talk like that anymore?)  My personal favorite is the banter and non-verbal cues between an uptight Lauren Pizzi (Maudie) and an earnest Dylan Stuckey (Dusty).  Their understated relationship is adorably believable. Everyone falls into a class expectation that is archaic and fascinating to witness. Vanessa Greenway (Countess) is impressive as an outspoken barmaid turned countess.  The wonderfully expressive Greenway is both loud-mouthed and tight-lipped at the same time.  And fiddling in the background, Mary Poole (Mrs. Oakes) is the amusing innkeeper.  Either with a raised eyebrow or a one-liner, Poole is hilarious.

The stage is set perfectly by Scenic Designer Joe Schermoly to transport us back to the 1940’s.  The two story hotel lobby is quaint elegance.  Sound Designer Christian Gero creates his own special touch with aircrafts moving across the ceiling.  I actually looked up expecting to see one. It sounds pretty real. Also adding to the audio authenticity was Dialect Coach Kendra Thulin keeping the cast sounding like a melting pot of cultures.  Well done, Duckie!

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, FLARE PATH is the perfect date night for singles, newlyweds, and old married couples.  Darling, isn’t it romantic?  Yes, FLARE PATH is ever so much so!

Running Time:  Two hours and thirty minutes includes an intermission

Written by Terence Rattigan

Directed by Robin Witt

At Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont

Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 7:30pm

Sundays at 3pm

Thru February 24th

Buy Tickets at www.griffintheatre.com

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