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Grounded

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The spotlight’s on a lone woman, and by god is she as cool as she is cocky. A raging rock star is this F-16 fighter pilot, who loves nothing more than launching missiles from her beloved big blue and downing a beer with the boys. That is until she gets pregnant. Boom.

Red Stitch founder Kate Cole absolutely owns this role. Scrap that. She dominates as this swaggering skipper, ejected from the skies into marriage, motherhood and ‘the chair force’ – a trailer in the Nevada desert from which she operates pilotless planes over Pakistan.

US playwright George Brant covers uncharted territory with his protagonist’s (quite literal) handling of drone warfare, and the dehumanising effect of putting thousands of miles between button and blast. Its delivery from a woman’s (albeit blissfully butch) perspective makes Grounded all the more complex – adding working-mother’s guilt to the mix.

Cole is flawless, steering this 90-minute one-woman show through a full spectrum of emotion at light speed. It comes as no surprise that Brant’s play won last year’s Fringe First Award in Edinburgh (not to mention being listed in The Guardian and London Standard’s top ten plays of 2013), and the Australian premiere does it full, thrilling justice.

Grounded
Red Stitch Actors Theatre
2 Chapel St, St Kilda
June 11 to July 12.
www.redstitch.net


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