Free Fall

Tue 3rd – Sat 7th November 2015


Emma Ansell

at 22:12 on 5th Nov 2015



Free Fall is a moving exploration of suicide, disparate family relationships, and the increasing automation of jobs in our post-modern world. It is a serious and moving production, but not without plentiful moments of dark humour – creating a varied and dynamic experience.

Sophia Flohr, playing Andrea, and Harrison MacNeill, playing Roland, have great on-stage chemistry. This is a demanding piece of theatre which necessitates a huge emotional range - understandable given the subject matter. Both Flohr and MacNeill portray their characters with integrity and skill. MacNeill deserves particular praise for his comic timing, and the way in which he sensitively occupies a space between pretending not to care but actually caring a great deal. Flohr is convincing in her portrayal of both psychological anguish and physical pain. I had chills from the very onset of the play. Free Fall has a strong start, thanks to Flohr, and an equally strong finish, thanks to MacNeill. The two work well together. Which is very lucky, given that this is a two-hander.

The script itself isn't too predictable, and there are some nice twists and turns to what could easily have been a run of the mill suicide narrative. There were moments in which I was genuinely surprised. Free Fall avoids free-falling into the traps of a clichéd 'young woman talked down from jumping and falls in love with her hero, finding new reasons to live' narrative. This is a play that holds back key information until very near the end, and in doing so forces the audience to reassess any assumptions that they might have about suicide.

Unfortunately, there were sections of the production that dragged. Free Fall would have been absolutely breath-taking had it been cut down by 10 minutes: sifting out the dead space between what are otherwise stunning performances by Flohr and MacNeill.

Overall, this is a strong piece of theatre that is well worth taking the time to see. If you don't already know, I would recommend that you prime yourself with the knowledge that the Dartford Crossing toll booths are now fully automated.


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