The Fringe Festival offers a great opportunity to sample diverse live theatre and Grounded is a superb example of how a play can challenge you to think more deeply.

The multi-award winning work by American playwright George Brant became an international sensation after its 2012 premiere. The play approaches drone warfare by doing what live theatre does best - giving the audience an intensely personal experience of a different world.

A poetic monologue in the voice of a female fighter pilot presents a compelling account of the weird sense of disembodiment that comes when combat missions in the Middle East are conducted from an air-conditioned trailer outside Las Vegas.

The subject matter could not be more urgently relevant but the play avoids getting bogged down in the ethical and political questions. There is plenty of revealing detail on the operational procedures for using drones but little on the geo-political context in which they are deployed.


Where the work triumphs is in its exploration of how technology is transforming human consciousness, with digital screens mediating for all forms of human experience.

A mesmerising performance by Erica Kroger takes us into the heart of the technological beast and movingly expresses the disappointment of a pilot who has seen the romance of flight replaced by the dull routines of shift work.

As her world implodes, she gives us a sense of how it might feel to be both present and not present at the moment when another person's life disappears in a puff of smoke.

What: Grounded
Where: Q Theatre Vault, Queen St
When: To Saturday