A fighter pilot returns after an unexpected pregnancy to discover that, in her absence, the game has completely changed. There is no more use for F-16 pilots and she is reassigned to remotely pilot a military drone. But when a high-profile target comes up on her radar, she is drawn into an all-consuming, high-stakes game of cat and mouse.
Grounded has the feel of a sci-fi dystopia, which is all the more unsettling in that it details not a distant future or an alternate reality but the very world we currently inhabit. It’s well-served by George Brant’s air-tight script: through judicious use of foreshadowing and metaphorical use of colour, he is able to draw clever parallels between surveillance and the surveilled, and the cold calculus of war with the warmth of domesticity. While Poppy Rowley, through her intimate direction, carefully realises these details to leave a lingering impression.
But it’s Martha Lott’s brazen performance that steals the show. Lott is a familiar face at Holden Street Theatres, but she is almost completely unrecognisable in the flight suit. In a demanding role, which requires that she make us sympathetic with a brash and somewhat unlikeable anti-hero, she offers a stunning, heartfelt performance.