Here on the Flight Path
Review by Ivy Wigmore
Looking for an antidote to the summer doldrums? Norm Foster’s Here on the Flight Path, playing at the Victoria Playhouse until September 5th, is a very funny, not-too romantic comedy—perfect late-summer fare. Flight Path, as actor-wannabe character Angel would likely call it, is small-theatre friendly, with an uncomplicated set, a minimal cast, and a lively enough script to render the audience all but unaware of either circumstance. Foster and his wife, Janet Monid, occasionally tackle the roles themselves, to generally rave reviews.
In this production, Erskine Smith plays protagonist John Cummings, an affable, baffled bachelor, still reeling post-divorce. Not quite sure how it happened, he finds himself writing a column and living on the flight path as he dreams of writing a novel and living on the ocean. Cummings writes “Comings and Goings,” which could also serve as the play’s subtitle, describing the women that move in and out of the character’s life. Like the airplanes navigating the flight path directly overhead, the women make brief but vivid appearances at Aurora Terraces: they fly in, briefly illuminating a scene and creating a considerable ruckus, and then are suddenly gone. Looking for love in any likely spot, Cummings tries his luck with the parade of females passing through the apartment next door. Smith is terrific in the part, ably delivering both humour and subtle pathos.
Cynthia Dunsford applies her trade-marked (well, it should be!) energy to the three female roles: the cynical but romantic hooker Faye, the reflexively optimistic would-be thespian Angel (That character ends up a country singer; as Cummings points out, with a name like Angel Plunkett, what else was she gonna do?), and the newly, miserably, single Gwen. Dunsford is probably best known as her outspoken alter-ego Parkdale Doris. If only they’d had room for a third balcony, the actor could have also leapt the divider (no doubt in a single bound) from time to time and as—hmmm…what’s a polite way of saying “busy body?”—interested neighbour Doris, contributed some pithy commentary about the goings-on. I’m sure Dunsford would have been equal to the task!
Although none of the women stay long at Aurora Terraces, each of them leaves their mark on Cummings. After all the tumult, the series of comings and goings, he’s a changed man, ready at last to move on—at least metaphorically—from the flight path.