‘Wildfire Road’ has made a stunning crash landing into Sheffield this March. The play, written by Eve Leigh (Pinocchio, Midnight Movie) and directed by Laura Keefe (Robin Hood, One Million Tiny Plays About Britain) flew in to a fantastic reception at the Crucible’s Tanya Moiseiwitsch Playhouse. Led by an all-star cast featuring Raj Bajaj (Killing Eve, Doctor Who), Mark Weinman (I May Destroy You, Afterlife) and Siubhan Harrison (Holby City, Doctors). The story, and creative set design, revolves around four passengers, who are seemingly strangers, boarding a flight to Tokyo which is then hijacked by a mysterious being from the future. What follows is an anxiety inducing, mysterious and suspenseful plummet into the depths of fate, free will, climate change and even issues of a geopolitical nature. To introduce ‘Wildfire Road’ in this way though makes it seem unfairly serious and academic, however it is within the comedy, breakneck pace and ambiguity that this production really shines.

The show ambitiously attempts to tackle a number of complex issues within its 60 minutes runtime and it is a testament to the writing and the production that it never seems too heavy or overbearing. ‘Wildfire Road’ does a fantastic job at sneaking incredibly thought provoking and topical modern issues and weaving them in amongst the high energy, gripping twists and turns that the mysterious story provides. These high energy moments keep the audience on their toes, amongst them being a particularly frantic and unpredictable scene involving ‘Killing In The Name Of’ by the band Rage Against The Machine. There is also a particularly clever joke involving a character hiding a secret whilst also being physically hidden from the audience. ‘Wildfire Road’ is crammed full of these small, but effective, touches which really highlight the thought, depth and creativity that has been put into the production and writing of this story. The actors are all bursting with a frantic energy and their inability to keep still, or to avoid breaking into seemingly spontaneous dance, at any moment really reflects the anxiety and panic within the storyline and does a fantastic job of keeping the audience active and engaged.

‘Wildfire Road’ leaves it up to the audience to decide and answer some of the philosophical questions posed throughout the duration of the production. The storyline calls into question a terrifying and all too plausible future and challenges the audience to consider the control that we really have over our own decisions and the impact of living in our own social and cultural bubbles. Those in need of a clinical story with simple resolutions may not be entirely satisfied but those who enjoy pondering some of life’s bigger questions and who enjoy slightly more unconventional narratives will find a lot to love in ‘Wildfire Road.’ Sink yourself into the mystery and catch ‘Wildfire Road’ at the Sheffield Crucible’s Tanya Moiseiwitsch Playhouse theatre from 4th March up until closing night on the 18th March.

Photo credit: Helen Murray