Into Thin Air review: The actors conveyed a perfect knowledge of Norfolk and rural ways

Into Thin Air. Photo: Courtesy of Wells Maltings

Into Thin Air. Photo: Courtesy of Wells Maltings - Credit: Courtesy of Wells Maltings

‘Into Thin Air’ by Rob John is a new play presented by fEAST Theatre. It played to a packed house at Wells Maltings Theatre Wednesday evening. I imagine that the ‘bush telegraph’ from other venues where this play had been was in operation for there was not a spare seat in the house.

Over 35 years ago, a teenage schoolgirl vanished ‘into thin air’ from her small Norfolk village. Now, her two brothers, still living in the same house, in the long shadows of their sister’s disappearance, are visited by a present-day journalist from ‘the city’ who is interested in the case. Questions are asked, pain stirred up.

Set back in the 1980’s as well as the present, it described the relationship between the members of the family: teenaged, high spirited Susan, her bad tempered widowed father, her two brother, one of them very, very slow witted. This was contrasted with the gentle torpor and sad existence of the two brothers, many years in the future.

The journalist’s visit revives old memories as well as stirring up questions as to what actually happened. In language as careful but pointed as anyone is likely to ever hear, the rapt audience gradually learnt that there might never be a simple answer to the cataclysmic question as to what happened. We may know more, but no new revelations were offered.

The actors conveyed a perfect knowledge of Norfolk (and rural) ways. It was a true delight to hear proper Norfolk accents. These players: Charlotte Price, Owen Evans, Robin McLoughlin and Dawn Finnerty were all excellent and even the disembodied voice of the angry dad, Simon Floyd was powerful. Most of all, Rob John who wrote and directed this fascinating play must be thanked. There are times when a play is so good that this reviewer is lost for more words of praise.