Entertainment Hive 2020

Grounded starring Martha Lott

Holden Street Theatre, The Arch, until March 8

Review by Honey B

Nothing can prevent performer Martha Lott from flying high in her new Adelaide Fringe show, Grounded. Award-winning playwright George Brant has penned a haunting and gripping monologue, which follows the story of a US fighter pilot who unexpectedly is forced to stop flying. Alone in the vastness of what she calls “the blue’’ it’s her world in the sky, back on the ground she hangs out and drinks with her team of fighter pilots – very few people make it into her world. One man does, and when she unexpectedly falls pregnant; the unnamed pilot takes maternity leave and is then reassigned to operate military drones from a windowless trailer in the desert outside of Las Vegas. She’s stuck in the “chair- force’’ as a drone operator on 12-hour shifts staring into the greyness of a small, pixelated screen. There is no blue. She hunts terrorists by day and returns to her family at night – it’s a monotonous life and she slowly becomes disconnected as she seeks out high-profile targets in another desert half a world away. Much-loved Adelaide actor Lott is filled with enthusiasm and pure joy as she details the life of a hot-shot fighter pilot. Her eyes gleam and you can feel the freedom pulse through her. It’s an emotion-filled journey with love, tears and a slow unravelling as Lott depicts her characters’ world growing smaller and becoming devoid of colour – from blue, to grey and the muted tones of the desert surroundings. Her American drawl has a staccato rhythm and she nervously pushes back her pulled-up hair and rubs her arms as the pilot loses site of the horizon only to enter a final tailspin as her mind unravels. Lott performs a true tour-de-force and it is wonderful to see her back on the stage again. It’s a chilling, thought-provoking play, as war is played out on a small screen in a world away in the changing face of war.
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