Based on his two best-selling books, Flak and Fly, well-known writer and performer Michael Veitch presents ‘Flak – True stories from the men who flew in World War Two’ – in which he takes on the roles of former airmen, recounting their extraordinary, true and largely untold stories of combat in the air war of 1939-45. Michael will present ‘Flak’ at The Roxy Theatre in Bingara on Saturday evening November 1.
Michael Veitch’s passion has always been the air war, and over the course of three years and two published books, Flak and Fly, Michael interviewed more than fifty pilots, bomb aimers and air gunners, almost all of whom had never revealed their wartime adventures to anyone, including, in some cases, their own families. And the stories they told are truly amazing.
In Flak, Michael takes on the parts of a number of these men, telling – in first person, a selection of their wartime stories, as they were told to him.
We will hear from Australian bomber pilot Bruce Clifton – shot down in 1945 in his Lancaster when accidentally straying over neutral Sweden, the sole survivor of his crew of seven when his aircraft exploded, expelling him, as he says, ‘like a pip from an orange’, miraculously unharmed. He came down on a farm, and surreally, a short time later, joined a Swedish family at their supper table.
Englishman James Coward flew in the Battle of Britain, his Spitfire mortally wounded by a German gunner’s bullet as he attacked a Dornier over Kent. He too bailed out, his left leg severed below the knee, which he was forced to bind with his radio cable to prevent a fatal loss of blood. Later he became an intimate of Winston Churchill and tells the amazing story of his war with warmth, wisdom and even humour.
Another Australian, Queenslander Barney Barnett, tells of his remarkable ordeal evading the Japanese in the swamps of Burma, having bailed out of his damaged Hurricane fighter, before a miraculous meeting with a group of Indian soldiers saved his life.
In all, Michael will present six men and their stories, all contrasting, all compelling, all true. “I hope to instil in the audience the same sense of amazement and admiration that I experienced when hearing these stories for the first time, from the mouths of the men who lived them” said Michael. “On occasions I, as myself, will tell something of my own story, and my own lifelong obsession, and give some context to the background where needed.”
Flak is an ideal show for young people interested in the human side of wars, in a way that combines drama and performance.
Michael Veitch is an actor, author and broadcaster, best known for his roles on the sketch comedy television shows The D-Generation, Fast Forward and Full Frontal, as well as for his books on Second World War aviation and the Bass Strait Islands.
This is theatre at its truest and best, storytelling in a darkened room, telling tales of ordinary people in extraordinary situations.
Tickets: $25, Concessions $20, Students $10. Dinner packages available (View Menu). Purchase through Bingara VIC: 02 6724 0066.