This play ostensibly centres around a NASA scientist who worked on the original Voyager in 1977 (Ean Sheehy), and an admirer hoping to make a play out of his experiences (Thaddeus Phillips). Unfortunately, that’s about as deep as the characterisation gets. Whilst Phillips gets a few good jokes, both actors feel too understated for a theatrical performance. They're given almost nothing to work with which would allow them to demonstrate any acting chops. The script feels dry, overly intellectualised and cliche, without anything to humanise these characters, who end up as just another piece of the beautiful stage pictures. What’s clear is that in Thaddeus Phillips’ directorial vision, these characters exist entirely in service of his visual designs.
Inflatable Space’s saving grace is its incredible visuals and music. The use of inflatables seems silly, but is actually visually fascinating, with different videos and lights being projected from outside and inside these inflatables. The cinematography of these videos (by Spencer Sheridan) is incredible in the way that perspective is played with. Alongside this, there’s incredible lighting (by Drew Billiau) which subtly manipulates reflections and colour, with the result being visually stunning. Underscoring all of this is Juan Gabriel Turbay’s phenomenal soundtrack, which carried a lot of the emotional weight and astonishment of the piece.
Inflatable Space is profoundly stunning but also profoundly empty, creating an amazing spectacle with not much behind it.