Generations of children have read Roald Dahl’s books that have taken them on journeys characterised by gruesome trolls, Oompa Loompas, and giants among other magical creatures. However, Taking Flight re-imagines an extract from Dahl’s book, Boy: Tales of Childhood, and takes it to the stage, allowing the audience’s imagination to soar above the surface of words on a page.
The giggles of children fill the arena, their smiles larger than the paper plane structures that are propped up on stage. The show unfolds through playful chaos, frantic characters and a picturesque maze of different excerpts from Dahl’s book. Director Kristen Harris’ vision is exemplified by the resilient actors, who use precise, choreographed movements and a self-made sound score to switch between scenes such as Mrs Pratchett’s sweet shop and an authoritarian boarding-school.
The atmosphere of this production is enticing and always shifting, and it successfully maintains the attention of the audience with dramatic facial expressions, dual role characters, colourful props and extravagant gestures. These qualities let your imagination run free and transports you to surreal, dream-like worlds.
The magic still hovers above you even after the show, as children grab colourful paper planes from the stage, encouraging their imaginations to linger in the endless possibilities of the performance.
By Megs Kelly