Written by Dougal Irvine
1st to 4th February 2012
As the audience enters the theatre and begin to take their seats, the
cast are already waiting onstage, four young lads messing around with
a beach ball seemly killing time in an airport. When the audience settles,
the four lads spring into a musical number to introduce themselves and
the situation. We learn that Ross, Jordan, Pete and JB have been stuck
at the airport for over 9 hours awaiting their homeward bound flight following
a holiday in Spain. They are due to return to A-level results and an uncertain
future with the offers of university places hanging in the balance.
From the off they are boisterous and playful, bounding all over the stage
and each other with quips full of innuendo and language that might make
a more conservative crowd uncomfortable. As it happens the audience embraced
both the physical energy and the colourful language of the show. Without
the physical horseplay the language and tone of conversation might have
been offensive, but you cannot help but warm to these characters as they
lark about and slowly open up about their fears and insecurities.
As they wait to board the plane, each looks back over their holiday and
evaluates both their interactions with Sophie, a girl they met on holiday,
and their groups’ friendships and dynamics. We see each of their
interactions with Sophie as flashbacks that become distorted by their
individual insecurities and concerns. The lad who has realised he is gay
but has yet to come out, the cocky self assured lad who longs to be part
of close knit group to make up for the dysfunctional family he comes from,
the runt of the group who longs to be free from the shackles the group
ties him into and the orphan who just wants to be loved.
Perhaps the departure lounge in itself symbolic of their wait to transition
into adults, they see Spain as the last hurrah of their childhood. As
their plane is eventually called, they sing about leaving Spain, perhaps
leaving their childhood behind as they step towards the unknown future
with only each other for support. The musical aspect helps to uncover
the more moving thoughts of the characters with an ease that may have
otherwise been lost, all four lads hold their own but the standout vocal
goes to Sophie played by Hayley Clarke, her cheekiness as Sophie almost
hides the talent of her voice but luckily she gets to stretch her legs
vocally before the show is over.
Departure Lounge has everything you could want in a musical, vocal talent,
a playful but heartfelt cast, crude but funny jokes and a moving almost
sad underlying story. Overall, a playful coming of age story against the
backdrop of childhood friendships on the cusp of adulthood.