REVIEW: Brighton Fringe online – SpaceXPat

Brian Butler November 17, 2020

Pat is a disillusioned astronaut on the International Space Station , who’s decided he’s done with the earth – its warming, riots, pandemic and politics . So he opts out big time.  His grand gesture which sends NASA in a spin is to stay put.

The whole of life is just a surface layer, an impenetrably thin membrane covering the planet, he tells his estranged wife Kaye who calls him by Zoom from Mission Control.

“ The earth is done, or I am done with the earth’” he tells an increasingly panicky Kaye.

His solution is to stay forever on the space station – carrying on with experiments but not coming back, even when his 3 fellow astronauts leave for earth.

It’s a clever device by creator Vince LiCata, and Andy Jordan’s tight direction with its split screen presentation keeps us on the edge of our seats.

SpaceXPat has won an award for online shows as an offshoot of the Off West End awards the Offies.

Paul Albertson as Pat is at once logical, committed and bordering on deranged but he carries us with him and we believe his dialogue is spontaneous and plausible. Kirsten Foster as Kaye is equally believable, though she tends to have less development as a character. Their matrimonial squabbling detracts from the main idea.

And it’s further complicated when Mike, ( Daniel Francis ) , who has returned from the space station he shared with Pat, comes on screen to say tentatively that he’s moved in with Kaye.

The plot thickens when the other two astronauts also leave the station, making Pat the solitary inhabitant.

And thickens again when NASA cease communications with Pat leaving him with a food crisis and the possibility of a tragic end for other reasons. His resort to singing Bowie’s Major Tom to Mission Control is a final irony.

Overall it’s a gripping take on lockdown that has endless other developments, but a jolly good escapist 30 minutes with a strong moral undertone.

SpaceXPat is an Andy Jordan Production via Brighton Fringe’s Sweetwerks and is available online till the end of November and maybe longer.