In a comedy set on everyone’s least favorite mode of transit, we must reckon with our crew’s dreams and regrets and ask ourselves: What is the best way to live and how? More…
"Bonnie’s Last Flight" is a three-part play set on a plane. The audience makes the trip as passengers: sitting on a tarmac before takeoff, floating at cruising altitude, and buckling down for the wild and rocky descent back to land.
It’s Jan’s retirement flight. Everyone knows, except for Greig, Jan’s best friend and coworker of many years. As Greig waxes nostalgic, Jan worries about life post-retirement. LeeAnne, a klutzy newbie flight attendant with a dark past, must avoid her ex on the plane while Captain, a waggish pilot with a weakness for unlimited Bloody Mary Brunches, is caught in a love triangle. Erik, the co-pilot with a heart of gold, can’t get a word in edgewise. Presiding over the flight is Mark Twain, of course.
“The witty playwright and comedic actress Bent configures an interesting cast of authentic people behind the masks of robotic sky servers...Expertly directed by Annie Tippet in a fast-paced laugh riot...The production is a rollicking and immeasurably enjoyable ride...This is farce and reality in an admixture that never loses focus or extends beyond the bounds of humorous rationality...This is one you must not miss, especially if you fear flying.” Full Review
“It’s silly. But ‘Bonnie’s Last Flight’ isn’t merely some hokey send-off of air travel...It’s more like an existential ‘Airplane!’—full of weird humor and surrealism as well as genuinely sympathetic characters questioning their place in the world...There’s plenty to enjoy...Much of the humor...is to be found in Bent’s singular idiosyncrasies of language, physicality and anecdote...A funny show. But throughout, there is a unique cocktail of melancholy and irreverence.” Full Review
"The play borrows a lot from pop culture, with some bits landing better than others...'Bonnie’s Last Flight' grapples with some weighty issues – regret, honesty, fidelity, aspiration, the degradation of air travel etiquette – and it packs a real emotional punch into the short time it takes to fly from New York to Chicago. By the time we were wheels down, I was in tears, and rooting for every last one of the Smelta crew. I also belly-laughed loud enough to disturb my seat-mate." Full Review
"The video clips interspersed between scenes throughout the play laudably accentuate the flow of the narrative and give the story a great gust of brevity. Besides one or two scenes that still need fleshing out, or maybe even to be omitted, the play flows smoothly and dynamically. Under Tippe’s direction, it is clear what the themes are: baggage and the fact that we all have it." Full Review
"Although it can be argued that the play’s agenda is scattered and slightly unfocused, it can also be said that it’s this seemingly random, dreamlike quality that gives the piece its unique charm and vivacity. 'Bonnie’s Last Flight' has been staged with wit and a keen sense of parody by up-and-coming director Annie Tippe. It’s also acted with giddy panache by its cast of six." Full Review
"Walsh delivers her part with an emotional veracity as she explores the meaning of her life's choices...Sargeant gracefully balances between gripping self-reflection and comedic reminiscences as he conveys the real possibilities of a final flight...Playwright Eliza Bent captures the absurdity of airline travel in its staccato attention to details and overarching commandment to relax...'Bonnie's Last Fight' is filled with humorous twists, and unexpected turns." Full Review
"'Bonnie's Last Flight' peppers its character moments with humorous sketches and air travel anecdotes. Some don't hit their mark, but most do. There's an especially amusing and thoughtful moment where the audience is handed landing cards on which they're invited to 'lighten their emotional luggage upon arrival.' All 'passengers' are asked to 'write down whatever's been weighing you down: a fear, a hurt, a grudge, anything you're ready to let go of.'" Full Review
“’Bonnie's Last Flight’ is a production design in search of a play...This is a pretty impressive achievement. If only such care and attention had been focused on the plot and characters. Bent's script is a rattletrap collection of sketch-comedy tropes, most of them founded on the belief that the most random idea is always the funniest...Loaded with air pockets of tedium paired with lame humor...Tippe, handles these shenanigans as best one can.” Full Review
“’Bonnie's Last Flight’ is set on a plane, but the comedy doesn’t achieve liftoff. The production’s designers do their best, with middling success to replicate the signifiers of a standard airplane cabin...But the name of the airline, Smelta, is an early clue as to the sophistication level of this journey to nowhere...It’s kindest to assume that...generous dollops of sentimentalism are meant to read as sob-story camp. But it’s a thin line between tongue-in-cheek and just plain dumb.” Full Review
"A nice idea for a show that never gets off the ground both in terms of its writing and staging...Sadly, the show that opened Wednesday at the Fourth Street Theatre is poorly composed, falteringly performed, and woefully under-designed...Staged in an actual production, its facetious doings prove to be a pointless, humorless waste of 75 minutes." Full Review
See it if You want to see a truly original immersive play by one of the best new up-and-coming playwrights.
Don't see it if You don't like absurdism/surrealism and/or don't like shows that break the fourth wall.
See it if you’d like to experience the work of a smart, funny, engaged, offbeat young playwright in an intimate, one-of-a-kind setting.
Don't see it if you cannot indulge a highly satirical take on how we live now, even when it is also very accepting of all kinds of human foibles.
See it if Like non-traditional theatre - or theatre spaces. Quirky and fun.
Don't see it if A bit simplistic but a basic story with interesting characters - characters more than persons.
See it if You appreciate broad bits, dwelling in nostalgia, and don't go to the theater for social/political urgency.
Don't see it if Mark Twain guides us on the flight, but the play lacks the sharpness and social insight that lifted his writing beyond mere wit.
See it if You enjoy interactive theater or surreal/absurdist comedy, or are looking for lighthearted fare.
Don't see it if You're a stickler for solidly written, thoroughly plausible drama (it's neither)...or you dislike interacting with performers.
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