St. Alban’s School Creative Arts department bring their production of Vanity Airlines to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. This Hertfordshire based school company showcase a tremendous sense of fun in this original piece.
Vanity Airlines is about to be taken over by Bryan Air – their sworn rivals. The staff of Vanity decide to recreate a famous ad campaign that put their premium economy airline on the map years before, hoping that showcasing this at the Airline awards will help save their company.
For a production crafted by young performers, Vanity Airlines stands on its own amongst Fringe comedies from seasoned festival pros. There is a sense of energy and enthusiasm pulsing through this production that refuses to take itself too seriously. The young actors are confident – with some stepping into dual roles – willing to embrace the sense of camp and over-the-top fun that the production requires. There is a natural sense of chemistry between the actors – particularly those playing the core Vanity Airlines crew. Whilst the humour is not exactly the most original – those familiar with The High Life, Come Fly with Me, or even Airport will find a familiarity in this story of ‘over it’ airline crew and their daily frustrations with demanding passengers – St. Alban’s School deliver it with conviction.
Vanity Airlines furthers this sense of enthusiasm with a soundtrack dipping into camp classics from RuPaul and Janet Jackson. These high energy tracks further the buoyant style of the production, whilst also helping craft a heightened sense of fun and personality. Yet there is a sense of versatility in the production with a narrative that does invest us in its characters – with each young actor getting several key scenes to shine. The tone is not always comic with Vanity Airlines finding narrative drama in exploring the relationship between the head stewardess and a former colleague now working in management at Bryan Air.
Vanity Airlines is an entertaining, impressively crafted production from St. Alban’s School. It may rely somewhat too heavily on comic airline tropes, but it is performed with enthusiasm and conviction.