Edinburgh Fringe 2015.
Rebecca Crookshank has developed a one woman show based on her time in the RAF and the result is an initially entertaining but in the end somewhat depressing view of the underbelly of the Services. The telling, well the first part of the story, is full of promise, achievement, training, drinking (lots) and anecdotes. Photos from her time in the RAF and from her family punctuate the telling and keep us in the picture, pulling us along as if it was a Famous Five novel - "5 go Mad in Halton" perhaps! Her comparison of where she was compared to her schoolfriends is a reminder of how young the forces sucks some people in - I understand becuase as a 16 year old the RAF had be sign up till I was 38 ... I didnt stick it out, at 16 such commitments are unreasonable.
It is when Rebecca qualified, supporting pilots in the air, providing the kind of real backroom back-up that keeps the fly-boys flying, that things go wrong. The story takes a couple of wrong turns; the way she treats herself and the way she is treated. Her bravery in confronting the former and in exposing it for us as part of this show is very real, very raw, unlike most shows she is not revealing someone elses weaknesses but her own. For the way she was treated when the lone woman on Mount Alice, and for the subsequent response of the RAF I feel ashamed - no person should be treated that way. Ever. By anyone. Certainly not be a fellow professional who should be supporting you. Yet again, her words are supported by photos and video taken at the time, a very personal witness.
There is an RAF in there that I recognise, but also one that fortunately I was never exposed to.