Actor and writer Jenny Lockyer singlehandedly flew her audience through the fascinating story of the life of female aviator Amy Johnson with her one-woman show, Amy Johnson: Last Flight Out, at the Old Electric. Linda Hampton reviews and shares a fascinating local connection to the story.

Amy Johnson: Last Flight Out celebrates this internationally famous woman pilot and her record-breaking solo flight from England to Australia in 1930. The play touches down on her early years as she discovered flying and went on to plan and execute her Australia flight in the face of huge physical and personal challenges.

In pilot’s uniform, Jenny Lockyer enters the sparse set – a white sheet for a backcloth, a chair and a coat stand – and immediately propels us into Amy’s world, gently coaxing the narrative into purring life. Amy, aged 26, works as a typist, and talks the ears off her flatmate nightly with her unending obsession with being a pilot.

Lockyer takes on not only the role of Amy, but also personifies the Gipsy Moth bi-plane Amy named ‘Jason’ in imagined conversations between the two. Jason reveals to the audience that he has been in Amy’s head for a very long time, even before he was a plane. He is the embodiment of Amy’s inspiration to achieve her dreams, and of Amy’s own words to ‘believe nothing to be impossible.’

Later the actor takes on male roles of engineers, officers and aviation experts. Changing only her voice and body language, Lockyer inhabits each character with a subtle ease and is totally believable. It is reassuring to hear one male character speaking in support of Amy’s ambition asking

‘Why not lift people up, rather than trying to push them down?’

Although it was pretty unusual for a woman to enter aviation – Amelia Earhart, the American aviation pioneer, had been the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean – it is heartening to learn that not everyone was wholly against the idea of a woman entering the aviation arena in England.

The minimal set of just two items of furniture is a poignant reflection of Amy’s journey as an aviator being fuelled by just two things – her love of aviation and her passion for adventure. And just as later Amy’s passion becomes a reality, so the simple items are cleverly used to transform into her trusty craft.

Amy’s aspiration to achieve her dreams is revealed through her gentle but determined attitude. We see her transition from a seemingly ordinary girl with extraordinary ambition, to successful and confident young woman who went on to break records and continue to set her sights higher. Had her life not been cruelly cut short she would surely have risen to even greater heights.

After just an hour in the company of Jenny Lockyer’s storytelling talent, the audience taxis away fuelled with new knowledge about this famous English woman, and very possibly inspired by her achievements, and starts to believe their own flights of fancy could just possibly take off.

AND… did you know why Amy Johnson Way just off Squires Gate, in Blackpool so named?

Amy’s last flight out, on 5th January 1941, departed from RAF Squires Gate (today’s Blackpool Airport). As a member of the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) she was on a routine delivery trip to an RAF base when she was forced to bailout over Herne Bay and tragically lost her life. So it seems that just a small part of Amy’s story belongs to Blackpool.

Writer and performer of Amy Johnson: Last Flight Out, Jenny Lockyer has big plans to continue to develop her work around Amy’s legacy with her Flying High tour beginning this autumn. You can follow her progress and find details on her Facebook page. Amy’s memory is kept alive today by several projects including Saving Amy, at the Spitfire Centre at Blackpool Airport.


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