When Pan Am Flight 103 from London to New York exploded in the skies above Lockerbie on 21 December 1988, Flora Swire was among the 259 passengers and crewmembers killed. Her father, Dr Jim Swire, has spent the last 22 years campaigning for justice; Lockerbie: Unfinished Business is his story, and it’s marvellously told.
The one-person play has become somewhat of a fallback format at the Fringe, but in this context it feels not merely justified, but necessary. Writer and performer David Benson presents Swire’s experiences in the form of a lecture about what he believes have been the failures of the British legal system in relation to the bombing. This brilliant device allows Benson to portray Squire’s heartbreaking detachment from his personal involvement in the case, before breaking down as he tells us about Flora herself and the tragedy of her loss.
Swire’s argument, that the case has been effectively ignored and victims’ families denied justice as a result of a cover-up by the international political and intelligence community, is compelling. It is impossible to pass judgement on the case itself after seeing such an emotive piece of work, but as a portrait of a life, this is affecting stuff.
A sensitive combination of evidence-based slides, photos of Flora, news footage from the time of the bombing and haunting sound effects have been brought together to create a multi-sensory dramatic experience that goes far beyond the reach of the average one-person show.