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Print Version

by Ben Anderson
Directed by Robert Pollock
Northland Youth Theatre

at Whangarei Girls High School, Lupton Avenue, Whangarei
From 5 Dec 2012 to 14 Dec 2012

Reviewed by David Stevens, 8 Dec 2012

The Northland Youth Theatre has another small triumph on its hands with The Blue Airplane being presented at the Whangarei Girls High School. It is a piece of extraordinarily inventive theatre.

The plot, such as it is, is simple. An aeroplane loses faith in its ability to fly ("metal can't fly!") and what we watch as its faith in itself and its ability is restored.

It's a metaphor, of course. The aeroplane represents any child, any young person, any one, whose dreams of life are shattered by cynical reality and I found it completely involving – and completely charming.

I take my hat off to the playwright, Ben Anderson, who has attempted something really quite difficult to do and has succeeded admirably. If his message is simple, it is important and most engagingly presented.

I also take my hat off to the director, Robert Pollock, for his marvellous staging. There are moments of great theatrical effect, achieved with minimal staging. I shall not soon forget the fly trapped in a startling (and totally believable) web before our eyes, and the terrified look on the fly's face as it realises its fatal predicament.

The evening is filled with magic moments like this – the sky itself makes an appearance – and all credit must go to the young cast who have embraced the play and the staging wholeheartedly, and all of whom acquit themselves admirably.

I also take my hat off to the audience. I think I'm pretty smart at working out a play's intentions, but many in the audience (including several young children) were way ahead of me. And, while I'm throwing out plaudits, I have to congratulate Peter Larsen, the Northland Youth Theatre 's Artistic Director, who recognised the merit of the play, which can't have been easy on a cold reading.

Those expecting an old fashioned, naturalistic drama should stay away, this is not for you. But anyone who wants to see energy, imagination and inventiveness should be sure to see this. I hope the play gets a much wider exposure.

It makes us care about an imaginary aeroplane which represents all of our dreams – and self-esteem – in a sometimes cruel and unforgiving world. 
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The Play Press posted 8 Dec 2012, 06:43 PM / edited 12 Dec 2012, 12:00 AM

FYI The Suicidal AIrplane (the original name for Ben Anderson's extraordinary little play) has been published by The Play Press - See entry at for more information.