• The books of Michael Veitch

    The books of Michael Veitch

  • Joe Iervasi and Alan Clements

    Joe Iervasi and Alan Clements

  • Pat Stephens and her son Tim Stephens

    Pat Stephens and her son Tim Stephens

  • Anne Stevenson and Suzanne Dunning

    Anne Stevenson and Suzanne Dunning

  • Karen and Jim Merchant

    Karen and Jim Merchant

  • Jill and Jim McMullen with Jenny and Malcolm Houston

    Jill and Jim McMullen with Jenny and Malcolm Houston

  • Sue and Gerd King

    Sue and Gerd King

  • Stephen Gale and Michael Veitch

    Stephen Gale and Michael Veitch

Flak with Michael Veitch @ the Q Theatre

28 April 2015

Flak at the Q Theatre in Queanbeyan with Michael Veitch is not about ‘copping’ it, flak that is, but about his heroes, the men who flew in World War II and the planes they flew. For Veitch it has been a life-long obsession with the mandatory carefully constructed model planes hanging above his bed, and over the years stories to tell and more importantly to collect as his heroes age and die and the chance to record them passes into oblivion.

A collection of just a few stories he’s compiled from interviewing  50 former aircrew are the core of his one man show where, as the conduit in a cardy, he retells some fascinating and frightening stories from the fly-boys, and the untold stories of heroism, determination and desperation.

It is a Biggles and Bader era – that’s Douglas the RAF’s most famous pilot who lost both his legs - and encapsulates the boys own adventure of those ordinary men doing extraordinary things with the oddest mix of planes and pursuits. Who could believe that a depth charge could sink a German U-Boat?

On stage at the Q Theatre it was a fireside chat without a fire and a compendium of planes , most I’ve never heard of, described by Veitch from the photograph album on the screen. I would have loved to see Flak staged in Anzac Hall at the Australian War Memorial. It could be a wonderful occasional appearance among the atmospheric effects, the impressive planes and paraphenalia that make up that extraordinary display. 

We loved Flak, Veitch’s obsession is our education and meeting his friend Stephen Gale who flew to join the opening night audience at the Q in his own Marchetti  jet reminded me of the time Douglas Bader came to Ainslie Primary School on his Australian tour and met with Tony Hunter our schoolmate who had wooden legs. We’d never thought he was any different but when Bader came to school Hunter was elevated to unique hero status. A long time ago but never forgotten.