- Rachel Baker
- 4 August 2019
One man show inspired by a WW2 bomber pilot.
Written by Bob Baldwin and Max Kinnings, drawing from Baldwin's father's experience in WW2, Wireless Operator is an intimate look into the experience of a Bomber Command squad on a mission to kill. John (Thomas Dennis) enters into this disturbingly violent experience, and the play explores notions of conscience and guilt when you are allegedly on the side of the good guys.
Dennis carries the performance, displaying talented physicality when things get risky and emotional depth when recalling memories of home. Audio clips from other actors constitute the rest of the Bomber Command, and Dennis convincingly evokes true relationships with these bodiless characters. The show's slick sound design ensures that despite the minimalistic set, the sense of being in a plummeting plane is both convincing and compelling.
The performance is ambitious but crams too much into a solo show, and feels repetitive as it dwindles towards a conclusion. While the sound design and nifty set are initially impressive the first time that the squadron approaches danger, by the third time it begins to lose effect. Nonetheless as we approach 75 years since the end of the War, this is an important show that gives voice to vital stories from history.
Pleasance Below, until 26 Aug (not 12), 12.40pm, £9-£11.50 (£8-£10.50).