I’ve had the privilege of seeing nearly all of Otherworld Theatre’s productions for the last two years. But I think The Rogue Aviator might be my favorite so far. The other shows are fantastic, obviously, but this one really hit it out of the park for me.
It was like a Bioshock Infinite meets Firefly meets Agent Carter wonderland full of badass lady pilots navigating a city in the sky, all while trying to get out from under the thumb of a male-dominated, overpowering regime. People come to this city in the sky expecting a new American dream but they become a prisoner, stuck paying debt after debt as they work to keep the city of Olympus afloat. And some just cannot withstand it any longer.
Once raised among the elites of Olympus, Ellie McCloud now fights for the freedoms of those they oppress. Ellie must wage a war on two fronts: the Sky Pirates who lay their claim to the city, and her moral battle within.”
The 1930s-style music and stereotypical radio show instantly transported me to this world and continued to break through the action as though we, the audience, were citizens and listening in on the radio broadcast. I love the use flashbacks (and the fantastic young actress who played young Ellie) to show Ellie’s struggle against her domineering, unrelenting father from childhood to the present. The flashbacks are peppered throughout to give us the more emotionally impactful information at just the right moment. We see more and more of what’s at stake for both Ellie and sky pirate Selina. Although you may find yourself empathizing with Selina’s story. I certainly did.
While emotional, the story was also very humorous. The mayor, especially, seemed almost like a cartoon character both in appearance and personality but I appreciated his ridiculousness quite a lot. And, well, there’s always humor when you get a bunch of hot lady pilots together doing shots.
The sets (especially the pilot chairs), the costumes, the fight sequences, the music, the sound effects – all amazing. It really brought this world to life.
Don’t miss this one! And please support this wonderful theater company. The shows they put on are unlike anything in the Chicago theater community. And I know how hard everyone works to put these shows together. They deserve, at the very very least, a like on their Facebook page.
See The Rogue Aviator Thursdays-Sundays, May 19th – June 11th – Thursday, Friday, Saturday @7:30 PM & Sunday @ 5:00 PM – *No show Saturday, June 10th*
Where: The New Strawdog Theatre (1802 W. Bernice, Chicago, IL 60613)