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Flying Standby

theatre · exposure · Ages 15+ · family friendly · world premiere · one person show · United States

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June 13, 2012 certified reviewer

My overall impression

Looking at the previous review, I can’t help but wonder how we could have both been at the same show.


Ever been disappointed when the long awaiting movie version of your book fails to live up to your memories? That’s kinda how I felt after attending the performance of “Flying Standby” at the Hudson Theatre last night.

According to the program, it was supposed to be Tonya Meek’s bittersweet comedy, revealing how the determination to escape her alcoholic mother carried her through a turbulent ride of addiction, lost love, and a final desperate flight toward reconciliation. As such, I expected to witness a story of triumph over adversity, and walk out afterwards with things looking up.

The sad truth is that I walked out feeling let down, with no resolution obtained. Despite the fact that Tonya told the story from the view of herself, her mom and her dad, it didn’t appear that she had come to terms with either her mother’s alcoholism or her death from lung cancer, and the final empty apartment scene was just depressing. It was, however, a unique way to clear the stage after her show.

That’s not to say that the performance did not have its moments. I was especially moved by the performance of “The Singer,” Dwayne Calizo. Although pitchy at times, the sentiment of his songs came through. Add in the interpretative dancing of Candice Cross, and the result was one of the best moments of the show.
There were moments of laughter, mostly when Tonya was portraying herself in the airport, but the dialogue for the most part almost felt improvised rather than scripted. I had a hard time following the storyline, especially in light of the many times she “told” people that she was writing a one-woman show.

By the way, although advertised as being a one-hour play, the actual running time was closer to 90 minutes, so plan accordingly.

The show does have potential, but could use some tightening up. In particular, I would delete the scene with her father, which was so short and so lacking in material that I didn’t understand why it was included in the first place.

If Tonya can create some resolution to her story, allowing the audience to leave on a high note, then this show has much promise. Until then, I cannot recommend the performance.

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