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Some of us know that the whole business of flight was invented by the Wright Brothers of Dayton Ohio and put into practice on the sand dunes of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
If you are into aeroplanes and in London (up until 21 September), take a trip to darkest Southwark (much improved) where the Menier Chocolate Factory is putting on its latest production, Take Flight. At ”15 there is little to complain about (”Joseph” is ”50). The converted warehouse also offers an art gallery and eating place, although Borough Market is nearby for alternative (and quite literal) grub.
Orville and Wilbur are contrived by the redoubtable Sam Kenyon and Elliot Levey in a 21st century musical caricature.
Somehow the musical combines the Wright Brothers, Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart (pictured right), plus Clive Carter as Otto Lillienthal (pictured below), played as a devious Frenchman cast in the mould of Maurice Chevalier.
The music and clever lyrics are by the award-winning song writing duo Richard Maltby Jr, and David Shire, with book by John Weidman.
Lindberg has his say: ”There”s a spirit locked in me and it”s time to set it free, and soar.” Michael Jibson is not over credible as the flying ace, but the alternative could have been John Travolta, perhaps more convincing as a pilot.
Sally Ann Triplett, in fine vocal mood (and previously Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls at the Piccadilly Theatre), takes the role of the doomed Amelia Earhart. ”The instant you”re there I”m lighter than air,” says her publicist and later husband George Putnam.
If you read ABTN you must have some interest in flying but that”s not the point. It”s just a nice jolly musical, neatly presented and well played. And a cheap evening out (at least by London standards).