I have talked in numerous reviews about how the genre of musical theatre has been used to inform the viewers about the lives of key historic figures (for example Hamilton, Avita, Everyone’s talking about Jamie etc) and now add to the list Harriet Quimby who is the first-ever female to gain her pilot’s license and the first-ever female to fly over the English channel. These show that explores historic figures are really interesting as they are very educational as well as being fun/entertaining. The fact that the story is based on a real-life story and document the dangers of air travel. What is devastating about this show is that fact that Harriet received very little acknowledge as the titanic overshadow her as well as her male prerecord being viewed as more influential. Having heard about this brand new full 2-hour musical produced in Vimeo, through Onstage blog (who I occasionally write for) as they are official sponsors. It’s fantastic that the new theatre is still being developed even in lockdown and so we need to remember that this show was recorded in the performers own homes. I am so excited about to see new musicals being produced in this difficult time and the story itself did not end how I thought it would.
As this musical was produced during lockdown the performance was streamed on Vimeo. The creative team had thought about the medium that this show would be showcased as there was a very careful and clever use of backdrops and sound effects which helps bring the viewers into the world the show is trying to create. There was however a lot of issues with microphones and sounds which key story points being muted which was very distracting and prevented the viewers from being fully transported into the story. It was clever how they formatted the performers to fit onto the same screen with the same backdrops to fit with the story. I don’t think that I would be able to record the scenes for a show done like this as you have to perform to a laptop in isolation. One scene that was hilarious that I thought would have been even better in a live show was a line by Harriet where she said “What is this some type of funeral? I’m not dead” I imagine this would have been even better live and imagine her poking her head through the curtains to deliver this line.!
The show is performed by an all-female cast who play multiple male and females roles thought the show. At first, I loved that the costumes used were very accessible and realistic as the story is based on true events but as people started to switch roles I did find it a little difficult to stay up-to-date with who is who. When the female performers were playing male characters there were fairly little indications that they were playing a man which still causes me some confusion even after watching the show. However, this show showcases every member of the cast as they can take multiple characters perfectly well. It’s also incredible that a group of women can tell the story of an inspiring woman was great to see.
Overall this was a very interesting show that shone a light on a very influential female figure (who many people have not heard of before) a very innovate performance that was produced during the lockdowns which need to be kept in considering. I would rate this production 4 out of 5 stars!