Jack Absolute Flies Again

Back in 2020, a new play was scheduled to make its world première in the Olivier Theatre at the National Theatre in London. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all scheduled performances were cancelled and the production postponed until 2022.

Jack Absolute Flies Again – The Plot

July 1940. After an aerial dog fight, Pilot Officer Jack Absolute flies home to win the heart of his old flame, Lydia Languish. Back on British soil, Jack’s advances soon turn to anarchy when the young heiress demands to be loved on her own, very particular, terms.

So this July the City Adventurers flew into town to see Jack Absolute Flies Again.

Based on Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s 1775 play The Rivals, Jack Absolute Flies Again is a play by Richard Bean and Oliver Chris. It stars Caroline Quentin as Mrs Malaprop, and Kelvin Fletcher as Dudley Scunthorpe, with Laurie Davidson as Jack Absolute and Natalie Simpson as Lydia Languish. Also in the cast are Jordan Metcalfe, James Corrigan, Akshay Sharan, Tim Steed, Theo Cowan, Helena Wilson, Kerry Howard, Peter Forbes and Shailan Gohil.

Directed by Emily Burns, the play takes place at Malaprop Mansions during WW2. The mansion has been taken over as a temporary base by the RAF and is home to a group of pilots, including Jack Absolute and his friend Roy. Keeping the planes flying are a group of engineers, including Dudley Scunthorpe.

When Jack’s old flame, Lydia Languish and Roy’s fiancé turn up, hilarity ensue with a round of misdirected letters and mistaken identities.

The fourth wall is demolished from the start of the play with Caroline Quentin introducing herself as playing the batty old widow because “Imelda Staunton was not available”. Talking to the audience continues with Lucy, the maid, pointing out conventions found in a restoration comedy. Lucy is also instrumental in many of the misdirection’s of suitors on stage.

The show flies along at a cracking pace, with lots of laughter and an impressive dance routine. However, there is a massive change of pace towards the end of the play that was unexpected.

Worth going to see

Tickets available at https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/jack-absolute-flies-again

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