AMY Johnson is Badapple Theatre's first show since Green Hammerton's "theatre on your doorstep" company had their wings clipped by not receiving the "Arts Council grant we hoped for".

Not to be thwarted, Kate Bramley's long-running theatrical enterprise showed Johnsonesque pluck by launching a huge corporate and private fundraising drive to ensure the 45 performances could still take off. What's more, Badapple hopes to have finance in place to go ahead with an autumn revival of its First World War play The Thankful Village.

Taking theatre to villages is an admirable modus operandi, one that deserves Arts Council backing, but villages are growing accustomed to disappearing services, from buses and post offices to pubs and sports facilities. Let's hope Badapple can find a way of turning the tide.

Amy Johnson, the story of Hull's First Lady of the Air, was Badapple's first show 20 years ago in Kate Bramley's Hull University days, and the writer/director has now written a new version, set in the Second World War, on the day that Amy Johnson's transport plane went missing over the Thames.

While Amy Johnson is the show's title, the story is told through the eyes and ears of Mabel (Sarah Raine) and Betty (Frances Tither), two WAAF ladies, one originally from Hull, the other a Midlander, who are manning the switchboard at Dover Castle and learn the news first hand that Amy is missing.

"Basically I wanted to broaden the picture a little, so we could explore a range of female characters from that time, as well as Amy Johnson of course," said Bramley.

Johnson's Gipsy Moth biplane is omnipresent in replica form, but Amy herself (played by a pucker Tither) is seen rather less so, as the story moves back and forth, taking in her early days, her flight to Australia, the mystery end. You might wish for more of Amy and her fellow 1930s' pioneer aviator Pauline Gower (Raine), less of the somewhat repetitious chatter of Mabel and Betty, but Bramley has given herself an expansive brief to explore the "wider themes of women in work, fulfilling your dreams and the quest for gender equality".

She finishes on a high, however, with Tither's Amy Johnson displaying the "sheer stubborn determination" that Badapple will no doubt apply in striving to keep the company going.

Amy Johnson, Badapple Theatre Company, on tour until June 3; visit for more details.