★ Flying Solo |Running a marathon was the hot topic of the Birmingham Repertory Theatre last Friday night, in the form of Flying Solo. A one-woman show which was performed and written by Manjeet Mann tells the story of Amber who is preparing for the London Marathon.

Manjeet evoked many emotions while taking on the role of Amber which was very true, and her performance was very energetic as Manjeet was stretching, running and working out throughout the 55 minutes. Flying Solo depicts the story of someone who has trained arduously, eaten correctly and showed an amazing attitude with intention of completing the 26.2 mile run. It was very intelligent how Manjeet combined the storytelling of the run live as she did it, as well as going back in time to tell the audience Amber’s background and we got to know her family very well too, through excellent impersonations on Manjeet’s part.

It was very interesting how dark the performance became as we found out how Amber lost her mother and father in the space of 6 months, and how her sisters looked down on her and thought it preferable that Amber would have been the one who should have died instead. It was equally brave for Manjeet to write this as it is semi-autobiographical and the themes that are touched upon are heavy and you can help but feel sorry for her.

It had a great crescendo and the ending was a happy one, however it was not a flying start with the acting being somewhat overdone at the beginning, slight overuse of hand gestures, and repetitive movement that made it hard for one’s attention to be grabbed. As the story picked up, so did the rest, and it was much better.

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