US drone drama Grounded touches down in London
Lucy Ellinson captivating in one-woman play from Edinburgh Fringe about a US drone pilot
What you need to know
George Brant's Edinburgh Fringe hit Grounded has transferred to the Gate Theatre, Notting Hill.
Christopher Haydon's production of Brant's one-woman play stars Lucy Ellinson as a hot-shot US female fighter pilot who has been redeployed after falling pregnant.
Stuck in an air-conditioned trailer in the Nevada desert, remote-flying drones over Afghanistan, her certainty and patriotism begin to unravel. Until 21 September.
What the critics like
Ellinson gives a captivating performance, says William Moore in the Evening Standard, convincing as a top gun and never allowing sentimentality to creep into moments of high emotion.
Director Christopher Haydon controls the rhythm tightly and the "snappy story-telling is punctured by dark edges, mess-hall humour and bursts of lyrical beauty", says Alexander Gilmour in the Financial Times. Ellinson combines obnoxious machismo with deep vulnerability in a deft, brave and stirring performance.
It's "a fine, thoughtful and empathic piece of writing" about the insidious technologisation of modern life, says Andrzej Lukowski in Time Out. But this urgent drama's biggest asset is Ellinson - intense, brooding and handy with an American accent.
What they don't like
The Daily Telegraph's Dominic Cavendish says "the pilot's one-of-the-guys patriotism is calculated to stoke Left-liberal indignation" though he admits there's "an interesting collision between love of homeland and the urges of motherhood". ·