Fly Me to the Moon

Written on January 17th, 2016

The Life of a Personal Support Worker


Personal Support Workers are unsung, underpaid heroes.  They look after the elderly, allowing them to stay in their homes and avoid nursing homes.  The comedy, Fly Me to the Moon, currently on stage at London’s Grand Theatre is a something of a tribute to those workers.

On the other hand, it isn’t an all-fun-and-games comedy.  It also has a dark side, with a look at the seedier life of a PSW.

Francis Shields and Loretta Mackie are two workers, looking after an elderly gentleman who is a big Sinatra fan.  Unfortunately, after Francis helps him to the bathroom, he dies.

“I could be arrested for theft, fraud, and murder and it’s not even four o’clock,” Loretta says, as a comedy of errors and bad judgement ensues.  No more can be said without spoiling the story.

Fly Me to the MoonThe play is set in Belfast, Ireland, and presented entirely with delightful Irish accents.  What struck me is the fact that the life of personal support worker, whether across the ocean in Ireland or here in Canada, is decidedly the same.  Anyone who knows such workers will enjoy humour of recognition.

The two cast members – Deidre Gillard-Rowlings and Carmen Grant – are excellent.  Gillard-Rowlings is remembered for her stellar role as Nurse Bennett in the 2012 production of Tempting Providence at the Grand.  She is equally convincing in this role as Francis, winning over the audience early on with her story about her son’s great business acumen selling illegal copies of DVDs.

Grant is perfect as Loretta, trying to make ends meet in tough times, showing her heartfelt concern for her unemployed husband and his efforts to make money appearing on game shows.  Grant is best known for her powerful performance in the Syringa Tree at the Grand in 2009.  She played 20 characters in a story about apartheid in South Africa.

The Grand Theatre is known to be haunted by the ghost of theatre magnate Ambrose Small, and with a dead body on stage for this entire production, perhaps Ambrose has been conjured up.  Many audience members were startled on opening night as if there were a ghost flying overhead, but I think it was just a bat coming down from the belfry.  In any case, the bat made a couple of rounds, causing audience members to flinch, and the two actors on stage to corpse (break character and laugh)!  After some surprised chuckles, they found their lines and got back on track.

Together, the two women introduce us to Irish co-workers who have a fascinating relationship.  Credit goes to director Krista Jackson for letting the audience see and feel this bond.  The result is an excellent evening of laughs created by hilarious dialogue, physical comedy and dark humour.

Fly Me to the Moon continues at the Grand Theatre, London until January 30th.  Tickets are available at the Grand box office at 672-8800 or 1-800-265-1593 or visit

Photo: Carmen Grant as Loretta Mackie; and Deidre Gillard-Rowlings as Francis Shields in The Grand Theatre’s production of Fly Me to the Moon.  Photo by Claus Andersen.

Fly Me to the Moon
By Marie Jones
Directed by Krista Jackson
Performed by Deidre Gillard-Rowlings and Carmen Grant
Grand Theatre, London
January 12 to 30, 2016
Reviewed by Mary Alderson

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