The production itself is extremely imaginative, but not even this can save a play that doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be.
Voyager is a literally a play that throws everything into one great mix and hopes for the best – from grief , relationships and of course a space mission to create a show which doesn’t seem to carry out its message effectively enough for the audience to appreciate fully.
While there is plenty of ambition, it feels as though too many people were involved with the creative process to make this a coherent story about one woman’s attempt to find herself and be independent, while dealing with the loss of her mother.
There is plenty of physicality involved, with imaginative scene changes involved throughout – but the constant use of slow motion movements does begin to weary after a while. However, there is still plenty of energy, and the play moves swiftly and effectively from beginning to end.
Sadly, what holds Voyager back is the weakness in the story. Can we really believe that Carrie after the loss of her mother and finding out about her father would really want to go up to space to feel closer to them?
The other problem is that characters such as Carrie feel slightly underdeveloped – we don’t really understand their motives. In fact Ben (Julian Spooner) is perhaps the character that the audience can have most sympathy for, more than Carrie (Grace Chapman) who doesn’t take into consideration the feelings of her partner who has supported her for the last decade when she decides to take part in the mission to Mars.
Grace Chapman as Carrie is suitably confused about what she wants from life but is also completely selfish in her ambition – but then grief does do different things to different people. Chapman plays her coolly with a lack of emotion, except in her blistering confrontation with Ben about her taking part in the mission.
Meanwhile, Julian Spooner as Ben is suitably supportive, but increasingly frustrated with Carrie’s attitude. Spooner’s character has slightly more depth emotionally – so it is easier to support his side of the argument and comes across as more likeable of the pair.
It is a piece of drama that would have perhaps worked better without the space mission plot and could have been a much deeper exploration of grief, relationships and even dementia instead.
There is evidence of ambition and creativity, but sadly it doesn’t pay off thanks to the story which left this writer feeling cold. But it still might appeal to other people in terms of the production itself, which does a decent job of a difficult play.
Voyager is on at the New Diorama Theatre until the 11th June. For more information and to book tickets visit: http://newdiorama.com/whats-on/voyager.