After This Plane Has Landed

“A war-torn love story with mass appeal”

From the pen of Birmingham musician, writer and producer Adrian Kimberlin, ‘After This Plane Has Landed’ charts the story of journalist John McCarthy and his partner Jill Morrell during John’s time in Beirut where he became hostage in 1986 whilst covering the civil war in Lebanon.  Perhaps at first glance, not quite the seat filler, however what transpires is a war-torn love story with mass appeal.

This show is previewing at The Dark Horse in Moseley, Birmingham prior to its visit to the Edinburgh Fringe.  This venue is perfect for an intimate theatrical experience and during this 60-minute musical dramedy I found myself quite captivated by the story and performances.  The roles of John McCarthy and Jill Morrell were played by Benedict Powell and Claire Russell respectively.  The chemistry between the pair made the whole performance believable and natural.  There were many beautiful moments of crisp harmonies between the pair and the pace never slowed.

We were taken along on a train journey with both characters as they reflected on the atrocities dealt with by McCarthy during his time held captive and the tireless campaigning carried out by Jill Morrell over the 4 years until John’s release in 1991.  The story flowed very well during this whirlwind look back on those fateful years.  During this time Jill Morrell set up ‘The Friends of John McCarthy’, travelled extensively, took part in many TV interviews, and generally never gave up the fight of being reunited with the man she loved. 

The musical numbers throughout this show were beautifully placed and performed well by Powell and Russell.  Each and every one added to the progression of the story, and I could happily hear them all over again.  Some wonderful melodies, feeling sensitive to the subject matter involved.   The dialogue throughout has some light moments too, raising a laugh, alongside being sympathetic to the real-life story being portrayed on stage.

Once freed and back home, the couple’s relationship breaks down, a sad consequence of the experiences endured by McCarthy during his time in Beirut and the fact that Morrell had moved on in her life, not knowing if he would ever return. The overall emotion throughout the show is one of pure love and fighting to save the life of the most important person in your life. 

I came away from the show feeling invested in both characters and wanting them to be happy in their lives as they came to terms with the incredible journey they had been on together.

After This Plane Has Landed remains at The Dark Horse until the 18th June 2023.  Tickets available here: 'After This Plane Has Landed' - A Musical Dramedy By Adrian Kimberlin Tickets, Multiple Dates | Eventbrite

The show will then be heading to the Edinburgh Fringe from the 4th August at theSpace @ Surgeons Hall – Theatre 1.  Tickets available here: After This Plane Has Landed | Musicals and Opera | Edinburgh Festival Fringe (edfringe.com)

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