“This is a true story. Events are told exactly as they happened, apart from the ones that are completely made up”
Part of the New Diorama’s Emerging Theatre Company Programme 2015, Lost Watch have spent the last four years building quite the reputation for themselves. Their latest show Flew the Coop takes inspiration from a photograph of real-life British prisoner of war Horace Greasley and Silesian translator Rosa Rauchbach, for whom he claims he escaped over 200 times in order to conduct a love affair.
It is told, with great energy and enthusiasm, through the prism of the Rauchbach Greasley Association Society Club (RGASC), a motley crew of Silesians (a historic region now split between Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic) who lovingly re-enact the story of their heroes with great ingenuity, using an array of brooms, brushes, sticks and buckets and not much more besides.
Louise Skaaning’s production is ramshackle, but deliberately so, and the fast-moving pace keeps everything light, even though it is set in wartime (1943) and in a prison camp. The unlikely love story (the sex scenes are rather amusingly covered by group dance routines) is augmented by the multiple escape attempts and the capers that ensue are charismatically performed by Dearden and Daniel Holme as the central couple.
The frame of the RGASC doesn’t quite come off though, under-developed dramatically and underused comedically, ultimately it is just interrupting the flow for little real benefit, where the potential for interrogating Greasley’s alleged predilection for exaggeration might prove a fruitful endeavour. This might stop Flew the Coop from being as light as a feather, even as enjoyable as it currently is.