New York | 0h 45m | Already closed

Flight (Vox Motus)

From 16 critic and 18 member reviews
Members say: Ambitious, Clever, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Absorbing

About the show

The McKittrick Hotel announces this North American premiere, an original form of theatrical story-telling direct from an award-winning run at The Edinburgh International Festival.


Two young orphaned brothers embark on a desperate odyssey to freedom and safety. With their small inheritance stitched into their clothes, they set off on an epic journey across Europe, in a heart-wrenching road story of terror, hope and survival. 'Flight' brings you up close and intimate to this heartbreaking story in a unique, deeply individual experience. You will watch the action unfold on images and models slowly moving in front of you, with speech and music conveyed through your own individual headphones. Based on British playwright Oliver Emanuel’s adaptation of 'Hinterland,' a 2012 novel by Caroline Brothers.

0h 45m | Already closed | McKittrick Hotel (Chelsea)

The New York Times

"Intricately designed yet with no live performers, it is arguably not even theater. But it is pulse-pounding, immersive storytelling, strange and exquisite and intensely affecting...The richly colored, minutely detailed visuals are the wonder of 'Flight'...There are many shows that you leave feeling lucky you’ve seen them. 'Flight' is a show you leave feeling lucky to be in this city, in this country, safe — if you are safe — instead of on the run." Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

“The narrative…has frequent ellipses that fail to explain transitional gaps…, and we have to fill these in ourselves…However well-done 'Flight' is, it's easier to become absorbed in its artfulness than to become as deeply invested in it emotionally as would be the case were it…a movie…'Flight,' directed with theatrical imagination and delicate sensitivity,…is, on its own terms, an impressively original articulation of the plight of innocent refugees fleeing the world's disaster areas.” Full Review

This Week in New York Blog

"A very different, much more settled kind of presentation that melds art, theater, and literature into something wholly new...I highly recommend it for fans of experimental, unusual methods of storytelling...A timely look at what so many refugees must do to escape their violent country and find a new home...It’s a harrowing journey that is intelligently depicted by Vox Motus, avoiding treacly sentimentality and instead focusing on a simple narrative and the genuine peril the boys." Full Review

What Should We Do?

"The breathtakingly detailed models, presented from a variety of perspectives with a layered soundscape, give 'Flight' a cinematic feel...I found myself more impressed with 'Flight's' artistry than emotionally intoxicated...But I’ll never forget it. In fact, many of the images are seared into my brain...Whether it strikes you as an art installation or a 3-D graphic novel or a twist on the old zoetrope, it’s a captivating, one-of-a-kind experience." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"An unusual and daring way of telling a story, and, in truth, it is more effective in conveying the sweep of the brothers' tale than in elucidating individual moments...Some of this may be due to the storytelling method, which militates against a certain level of gritty detail. Still, 'Flight' is often affecting, and it concludes on a haunting note...If you have a theatre-loving young person in your household, I endorse 'Flight' without reservation." Full Review


"The complexity of the issue doesn't always mesh nicely with a form of storytelling that relies on distilling moments to still images. The story proceeds as a series of beats to hit, rather than fully formed episodes, and the characters feel undeveloped below the surface level. Where the story feels simplified, the presentation hardly is...Purists may shy away, but for those who enjoy something different, the experience at least offers an interesting provocation if not an outright revelation. " Full Review

Edinburgh Guide

for a previous production "The technically brilliant and utterly enveloping and immersive installation takes the form of a diorama in a carousel. To a brilliantly chimed soundscape, a series of static figures appear in unbelievably detailed miniature tableaux, channelling the ‘aesthetic of a graphic novel’ and brought to life by the voices of a fine cast of actors. It is simple yet elaborate, involving immaculate timing and co-ordination behind the scenes...Don’t miss this unique theatrical experience!" Full Review

The Wee Review

for a previous production "The show is definitely original...Any great graphic novel will make use of space, perspective, lighting, and shadow. 'Flight' does all these things and the style is majestic and fanciful...The storytelling is masterful with the words, music and sounds being delivered directly into your ears. This creates an intimate and engrossing atmosphere that heightens the drama and at moments can leave you feeling breathless and thoroughly engaged...A unique and original experience." Full Review

British Theatre Guide

for a previous production "For those in search of new experiences, 'Flight' should be a must-see experience...Perfectly constructed, tiny models illuminate the story...The strength of the presentation lies in its ability to depict the ups and more often downs that the pair experience...The story-telling seems aimed at the teen market but is nevertheless powerful, while the models...and their use are outstanding and should eventually find their way into a permanent exhibition somewhere." Full Review

The Scotsman

for a previous production "The story is in some ways a simple one, told with an edge of gentle tragedy in Oliver Emanuel’s text, and voiced, in the recorded soundtrack, by a fine team of nine actors...Yet the poignant beauty of the tiny puppets, and the sheer imaginative vividness of the world they inhabit, engraves this exquisite show on the memory...Theatre, installation art, or something else entirely, 'Flight' tells its tale with a passion reflected in every detail of its tiny artworks." Full Review

What's On Stage (UK)

for a previous production "As a piece of theatre, well, it isn't live and it isn't communal – but it is effective. Think of it more like reading a comic book, but with an aural, acted soundtrack rather than speech bubbles...It's a story that needs to be heard, a journey that we need to go on with Aryan and Kabir...In matching an almost twee craft with an account of the horrendous, inhumane treatment of two very young men, 'Flight' makes the story feel newly fresh. It's miniature, yet also epic." Full Review

The Arts Desk

for a previous production "Seated in individual darkened booths, with headphones carrying the soundtrack and actors’ voices in Emmanuel’s gently tragic text, you watch a slowly revolving sequence of exquisitely crafted miniature tableaux, almost like a graphic novel in three dimensions...The result is a brilliantly bewitching, quietly heartbreaking experience...It’s a gradually evolving piece, cumulative in its power...But for such an intimate experience, 'Flight' packs a massive emotional punch." Full Review

Plays to See

for a previous production "The show takes the unlikely form of a theatrical graphic novel...A kind of slow-motion 3D magic lantern show. It’s a full-on audiovisual sensory experience – visually and sonically, extremely rich in detail. 'Flight' verges on being sentimental at times – and it sometimes feels like not enough context is given to make Aryan and Kabir feel fully relatable. But it’s a harrowing and vital story – visceral, hard to watch, but told with lyrical beauty and charm." Full Review

Financial Times (UK)

for a previous production "Capturing the scale, complexity and humanity is daunting, but Vox Motus takes a unique approach...'Flight' draws us into its miniature material world...But sometimes nuance and believability are sacrificed to the simplified style of the piece...It’s like listening to a gripping, desperately sad radio play, but with intricate models to focus and stimulate the mind. I only realized how involved I’d been when an assistant tapped me on the shoulder and led me blinking into the light." Full Review

Time Out London

for a previous production "It is a marvel of effort and engineering, and stunningly pretty – almost distractingly so...As a piece of theatre it perhaps works better at conveying the scale of the boys’ journey than its rigours...I suppose ultimately the extraordinariness of the form and the extraordinariness of the journey feel like they are in competition, and inevitably it's the form that emerges as the most memorable bit...But that’s not take away from the sweeping sense of journey, or the force of its tearjerker fi... Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

for a previous production "But, for all the brilliance of a team of model-makers...I had some reservations. Adaptor Oliver Emanuel adopts a studiously non-political tone and never sets the story in the wider context of the global refugee crisis...Since theatre is a public event, there is also something odd about sitting in a private booth for 50 minutes watching the saga unfold...I was impressed by this production’s exquisite detail...and its experimental daring, while still yearning for the presence of living actors." Full Review

Absorbing, Intense, Resonant, Thought-provoking, Ambitious

See it if you enjoy really taking something in. Told in a series of still dioramas, each one deserves contemplation.

Don't see it if you want a fast-moving plot, sharp dialogue, or extended scenes. Each scene and even the characters are lightly sketched.

Also This is the story of two refugee boys from Afghanistan. It is touching... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Absorbing, Clever, Edgy, Resonant

See it if You want to see a story with no physical actors. Love a story-centric piece.

Don't see it if Can not handle sexual violence. Prefer a lot of action on the part of actors.

Atmospheric, Avant garde, Handcrafted, Must see, Emerging theatre

See it if you enjoy dioramas, compelling stories, experimental theatre, or having a library corral all to yourself during a show sounds appealing.

Don't see it if you're sensitive to topics such as sexual assault and child trauma or you expect theatre to remain within the confines of tradition.

Also A truly remarkable transfer from Edinburgh, I think those who have not... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Relevant, Intense

See it if Beautiful yet depressing story told with exquisite models in a personal environment

Don't see it if Want live acting? Then this is not for you.

Ambitious, Riveting

See it if You are open to a new theater experience combining physical art and word in a unique nontheater setting. Headset, diorama, dark room & you.

Don't see it if You do not like experimental theater or are irritated by cliche-ridden texts. Story itself far less well done than how it is presented

Absorbing, Effective, Not a performance but still a rare show of theatrical storytelling, Creative, In a separate art realm sort of like puppetry

See it if you like the visual arts—i.e., considering how materials/techniques achieve associations bigger than the tangible piece.

Don't see it if uninterested in theater pros other than actors telling stories; you rely on the absence of production elements to signal quality.

Also Maybe the most memorable show I’ve seen on the risk & uncertainty peop... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Detached, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Masterful

See it if you're ok with theater taking all forms, and not necessarily being a live, or even communal, experience.

Don't see it if you don't like small, dark, tight spaces - you don't want to be on your own for the hour of "seeing" the show.

Ambitious, Refreshing, Thought-provoking

See it if you are interested in different ways to tell a story or are interested in the plight of refugees

Don't see it if you are looking for a conventional drama. this is not a live performance

Also It is not a live performance but it is done in an elegant way, depicti... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Profound, Resonant, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if You want to see an installation piece. It definitely is not "theatre" as one would call it, more so an art piece. Beautiful set models.

Don't see it if You are expecting live action, or are bothered by wearing headphones.

Beautiful diorama/installation, but not theatre, Relevant, Exquisite design, Technically impressive

See it if you are prepared for a solitary viewing experience, with audio delivered through headphones, of a moving series of intricate dioramas

Don't see it if you believe theatre needs to be a collective experience; the isolation is no doubt part of the experience, but communality is essential

Also This is a 3-D graphic novel with recorded audio. And while the design ... Read more Read less

Clever, Different, Artistic, Diorama?

See it if You are OK with different definitions of "theatre". This is not actors on a stage or around you. You need to let your imagination guide yo.

Don't see it if You don't want to sit isolated for 45 minutes with headphones on.

Also I did NO research as to what this show was about before attending. Was... Read more Read less

Clever, Overrated, Slow

See it if You want something different and inactive.

Don't see it if You expect to leave with a new outlook on life.

Clever, Ambitious, Relevant

See it if you appreciate great storytelling and are looking for a unique experience

Don't see it if you are claustrophobic and want a night of "proper" theatre

Also It's hard to score this like a regular show because it's far from it. ... Read more Read less

This is an art installation, not a theatre piece.

See it if you want to experience an art installation in an interesting format. Unique storytelling ... but not a theatre piece.

Don't see it if you're expecting a theatrical performance.

Also to me, this is not theatre (hard to score). FLIGHT is the story of two... Read more Read less

Slow, Cliched, Meh

See it if If you like dioramas and miniatures.

Don't see it if If you want a more nuanced story about migration.

Also Not exactly what I expected -- but I was game. It's a solitary experie... Read more Read less

Underwhelming, Disappointing

See it if You like animation

Don't see it if You want to see theater, this is mismarketed.

Also It should be marketed as what it is and not shrouded in secracacy. The... Read more Read less

Clever, Depressing, Intense, Excruciating

See it if you like different types of theatre, love refugee stories

Don't see it if You like fantastic story telling and want a riveting piece of theatre

Also I get that the concept was supposed to be very unique and it was. The ... Read more Read less

Cliched, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Clever, Ambitious

See it if you want to experience a really unique art piece.

Don't see it if you are expecting live theatre. It's more like an art piece than theatre. Nothing is live.

Cast & Creatives (9)