Flight by Vox Motus: The stunning realisation of a heart-wrenching odyssey

Vox Motus: Flight. Photo by Beth Chalmers
Vox Motus: Flight. Photo by Beth Chalmers

Flight tells the traumatic tale of two orphaned Afghan brother’s fraught journey across Europe to the UK.

Based on a novel and influenced by graphic novels, the story is told through hugely-detailed and surprisingly engaging miniature model dioramas.

Vox Motus: Flight. Photo by Beth Chalmers

Vox Motus: Flight. Photo by Beth Chalmers

They are sequentially revealed to the viewers, who sit in personal pods, in darkness, listening to the story unfold on headphones.

Immersive doesn’t even begin to explain the intense but very satisfying story-telling experience created by Glasgow-based touring theatre company Vox Motus.

A well-paced and subtly performed script, accompanied by at times chair-shakingly loud music and sound-effects, worked superbly well with the visuals.

And what incredible visuals they are. Intricately sculpted scenes are filled with tiny, but expressive little models and meticulously crafted backgrounds.

The narrative dynamic owes much to modern-day comic-book techniques and there is a strong synergy between the images and the audio.

As the initially naive and enthusiastic boys make their haphazard, and at times desperate, way through the continent they face cruelty and compassion throughout.

Although there’s unquestionably more of the latter than the former - which is perhaps a fair reflection on the reality of the real-life situation.

There are some genuinely distressing moments, which contribute to show being limited to festival-goers aged 14-plus.

Although the brothers are fictional, the author of the source material, a former Reuters and New York Times journalist, based every event on the real-life experiences of the young refugees and asylum-seekers she had previously interviewed.

The show’s directors have insisted the children who made journeys such as this, are not victims, and they were keen to celebrate their bravery and determination.

Flight will melt the hearts of any right-thinking, decent individual, and is a very human piece of work which soars above hate, ignorance and intolerance.

By Steve Holloway