An Air Hostess is in-fact Death, calling Redmond not to his flight but to the afterlife. Claiming to be a poet, this is his final performance. Redmond decides to draw inspiration from his idols; Elvis Presley, Tom Jones and Leonard Cohen.
I found this experience very self-indulgent and confusing. I couldn’t make out if Redmond was making a point. That the world is full of ego-centred, creative types who put themselves through so much in an attempt to become respected like their famous idols. But ultimately fail. Is this a demonstration of that self deprecating obsession with becoming an artist of merit? Was this a deeply uncomfortable satire or a genuine attempt at poetry and comedy?
Redmond enters the space in an Elvis costume complete with terrible accent and uncomfortably long songs when it is clear he cannot sing. He demands a member of the audience carry him to the stage. The poor man struggles and falls, but Redmond perseveres. I personally thought the audience was very polite but Redmond criticised us for not laughing loudly enough. ‘What is wrong with you people?’, this doesn’t appear to be a character choice. He performs a number of poems, songs, sketches and stand-up, muddled together with no clear structure.
Two other performers appear from behind the stage, all in black. I was quite impressed with their timing, clarity and material. In particular the hypothetical question sketch. They were ushered on and off in-between Redmond’s stage time, when I would have liked to have seen more of them. The whole play seemed to be a competition between performers to see who can talk the fastest, trying to emulate slam poetry. Redmond is clearly the loser as his mouth would often slacken and not hit the much needed consonants, even mispronouncing some words. Making it near impossible to make out what was being said half the time. Clearly highlighted scripts were held throughout, which I don’t blame them for as it would be impossible to memorise all the writing forced into mere minutes.
I felt no sympathy for Redmond’s character even if he was facing the afterlife. Proclaiming ”horrible things have happened to me’ but only repeatedly hinting at one failed relationship. Perhaps trying to achieve the emotional torment endured by ‘true’ poets, unfortunately it just comes across as whiny and shallow.
‘Biggest set up for the smallest punchline’ although Redmond was referring to one joke, I think this sums up the whole experience. Multiple costume changes, four actors, massive chucks of text spat out in under a minute and, not forgetting, six renditions of hallelujah. Perhaps the objective went over my head, but either way it was not an enjoyable or entertaining way to spend an hour.