Preview: Flight Path, Bush Theatre, London

The upward trajectory of a youthful star
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The Independent Culture

This new play by 22-year-old David Watson is about a year in the life of a rebellious 18-year-old, Jonathan. His father has walked out, and his older brother, who has Down's syndrome, has returned, forcing Jonathan into a parental role. It is the second play for Watson, who was 17 when his debut, Just a Bloke, about the love between two brothers and a cousin, featured as part of the Royal Court Young Writers Festival in 2002.

"I was never good enough to be an actor, so I decided I was interested in writing plays," says Watson. "I used to watch my first play performed every night. There is nothing like seeing good actors bring it to life. It becomes its own beast. It's exhilarating and terrifying in equal measure."

Watson's career as a playwright first began at 14, while attending a young writers' workshop at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre. "For many young playwrights it can seem like a never-ending cycle of staged readings. It never gets to the point of getting your work produced. I was very lucky that the Royal Court picked up on Just a Bloke. It was the third play that I had written at the Birmingham Rep's young writer's project while I was still at school."

Flight Path, directed by Naomi Jones, is a co-production of the Bush Theatre and Out of Joint, and will tour the UK. Watson is working on a new play, commissioned by the Birmingham Rep, about a young teenage girl growing up in the semi-rural community around Birmingham.

"I spend a lot of time thinking," says Watson, who lives in north London. "I have scraps of dialogue all over notebooks. Then I can actually knock out a first draft in a few weeks. It's just the material that has been brewing for some time."

He is inspired by the work of Harold Pinter, Conor McPherson and David Mamet. "It's their style of heightened realist dialogue that appeals to me," says Watson. "When I first saw Pinter's The Caretaker, I could barely sleep that night because it was so perfect."

To 6 October, then touring to 10 November (www.outofjoint.co.uk; 020-7610 4224)

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