Wherry Quay, in the bustling heart of Ipswich's regeneration waterfront.
In the 17th century Sale Room, thirty travellers, “mostly elderly”, are herded, held and harangued by a mysterious cabin crew. “You are saved !” cries Captain John, the puppet master – a warm but powerful performance from Adé Sapera.
The image of the flight, the baggage we need to shed, recurs with variations throughout the seventy minutes of this ingenious theatrical event, as we traipse from one room to another in the historic Isaac Lord Quarter.
We share the hopes and ambitions of José and Catarina [Pedro Reichert and Chara Jackson] echoed in the Fado music of their native Portugal.
In this dream-space reality, it is no surprise that the air hostess and the stowaway are both Polish. Beata Majka – herself of Polish origin – gives a wonderfully enigmatic performance, with Noeleen Comiskey as the girl from Danzig, “ a sliver of someone's memory”.
Ivan Cutting's thought-provoking site-responsive work was inspired in part by the Isaac Lord building, and in part by the burgeoning Polish, Portuguese and West Indian communities in Ipswich.
As Captain John says at the close, if we stay in our own world we will never live together. All the “old stuff”, the Benfica lunchbox, the millstone of language, the crutch of culture, may need to be jettisoned over the ocean.
Five strong yet intimate performances, impressive audio-visual support, and the solid symbolism of the luggage and the journey, made this a memorable, not to say unique, drama.
Other “non-velvet spaces” for this flight of fancy include Wivenhoe, Maldon Town Hall and the Time and Tide Museum in Great Yarmouth. Tour dates here; catch it if you can !
Amália Rodrigues sings Fado ...