‘What if the plane falls out of the sky?’ is the story of three siblings (Heron, Magpie, and Feral Pigeon) who- to combat their own feelings of fear and dread- have a devised a three-step programme (with the help of Jeff, who talks to them through the Boombox) and are giving us a taster session of their very own Fear Camp.
Walking into the theatre, you’re greeted by the three suited, very excited performers (think of a trio of slightly manic Red Coats, and you’re almost there); as the audience sits, they walk around and ask some of our own fears, jotting them down. There is a little bit of me that’s nervous- my instant reaction to a stranger speaking to me- but I also start to find myself infected with their enthusiasm, an excitement bubbling over me as they nod and smile and look genuinely pleased to see us all.
As the show goes on, Heron, Magpie, and Feral Pigeon guide us through Jeff’s programme, which includes some very intimate relaxation poses (the word “pudendum” has been making me giggle all day), exposure therapy (with heavy use of almost-nudity, glitter, and Foreigner), and an interpretive dance conquering the fear of flying. All served with complimentary mojitos and crisps.
I laughed loudly the whole way through, as did the rest of the audience, but they punctuate this high, dizzying comedy with moments of reality and real hurt: abandonment, rejection, being dead and no one noticing for ages and the fear that everyone will be secretly relieved. Those fears of ours that they jotted down earlier, they share these; some of my favourites: “ladies with notepads”, “saggy tits”, and “audience participation”). Idiot Child have this remarkable way of acknowledging how hard life is, how hard we make it for ourselves sometimes, and finding a joy in that- and in the defeat of that (if only temporary).
Susie Riddell (Heron), Adam Fuller (Magpie), and Emma Keaveny-Roys (Feral Pigeon) are amazing performers, completely hilarious, but also at some point throughout the show, giddily racing through pretty much every emotion and then sweeping them manically under the rug again.
I blew up a balloon with my sadness. I chanted positive affirmations. I left feeling a little less alone in the world.
Hysterical, and deeply affecting, I would recommend it to anyone who’s led awake at 2pm and wondered how big or small their mark on the world is.