Fabulous Flare Path
I'm going to come right out and say it. I loved Flare Path. If ever there was evidence that an engaging enough play can keep the tiredest person awake and alert then this is it.
It is set in a hotel near an RAF base during World War II where the guests are predominantly RAF staff and their wives and starts with the arrival of a rather suave and sophisticated looking man asking for a room for the night.
Doris (Sheridan Smith) who's Polish husband is fighting alongside the allies soon recognises him as English actor turned Hollywood screen star Peter Kyle (James Purefoy).
Kyle is out of place at the hotel where the everyday reality of wartime is evident. The wives of the pilots and gunners can recognise an enemy aircraft just from the sound of the engine, their husbands make light of their work but the danger of their nightly missions lurks in the background every look, joke and jape.
It soon becomes apparent that Kyle simple hasn't blown in with the wind but has followed Flight Lte 'Teddy' Graham's actress wife Patricia to the hotel where she is visiting her husband (Harry Hadon-Paton and Sienna Miller).
Flare Path is just as much about will or won't Patricia leave her husband for former lover Kyle as it is about will or won't the husbands return from a night bombing run and both story lines have fear, loss and loneliness at their core.
It is a genuinely warm, funny and deeply moving play with an all round superb cast. Smith is just wonderful as the bubbly, trying to hold it together Doris. And Miller gives genuine emotional depth to a character that could easily be played with a dislikeable superficiality.
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