FRINGE THEATRE – Build a Rocket – HST – 4.5K

By Peter Maddern

Martha Lott chose this work for her Holden Street Theatre 2018 Edinburgh Fringe award and it has travelled well for this extended season at our Fringe.

Yasmin (Serena Manteghi) is a naïve, poorly motivated school girl from Scarborough when she falls for and soon gets pregnant by Daniel, a suave guy she met at the pub. Build A Rocket, brilliantly written by Christopher York, is a play about the life, struggles and decisions Yasmin must make to keep a roof over her head and be the mother she needs to be for son, Jack.

The play is performed around what may appear to be a school yard play apparatus (and brilliantly conceived as such by Helen Coyston) that forms the basis for everything, from maternity ward to coat rack, kitchen table to pub stool.

Manteghi delivers what will surely be one of the best performances to be witnessed this Fringe; she is masterful as she dances round, over and under the set turning from cynic to sad, tired to triumphant in a flash. The energy sustained is formidable, the passion for her character unflinching. If there is one criticism it is that her accent – easily adapted to in Edinburgh – can be a struggle to native Australian ears especially as hers is such an amped up performance.

It seems the critics in Scotland didn’t fully rate this production for it lacked what they perceived to be the appropriate ending. Don’t be fooled by that mob; for me this is comfortably a 4.5 star show and members of the other gender may well have no problem elevating it to that final rung higher given Yasmin’s struggle will resonate yet more strongly with them. In any case, Manteghi’s performance is easily worth the price of admission.

Kryztoff Rating               4 .5K

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