Build a Rocket, Pleasance Courtyard, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Stephen Joseph Theatre
Christopher York (writer), Paul Robinson (director), Helen Coyston (designer), Ben Cowens (lighting designer), Simon Slater (composer and sound designer).
Serena Manteghi (Yasmin).
Running time

Yasmin is a smart cookie and has always had a way with words. She is also an angry young woman. With thesaurus in hand she is writing to Daniel – “Dear Dickhead, I am writing in regard to … gestating your spawn”.

Bright she may be, but life hasn’t set her up with the best grounding. A self-proclaimed hard ass, she is out with the girls, a collective mass of human Jager bombs, when she pulls the DJ Danny and crosses the tracks to his side of town.

Bewitched and bewildered by love she misses out on school work and suffers confidence issues facing a game show countdown to exams. Entering the ring to go the distance, History has her on the ropes.

She is surprised to hear that a pregnancy test is positive as she sees nothing “positive” in the situation. With Danny now seeing her ex best friend it’s a potential Euripidean tragedy that will require her to do something heroic in extraordinary circumstances.

Troubled by her own upbringing and abandonment issues she fears passing on the sins of her mother and swings between determination, doubt and low self-esteem.

As time spools by the odyssey continues with constant challenges, juggling care of her lively son Jack (always questioning, eating, making noise) and finances, all under the unwelcome scrutiny of the authorities. Can she be herself and a good mum?

It’s a commanding performance as she struts and frets the playground setting with irrepressible energy, seesawing between powerful and vulnerable. A section using poetic rhyming language does feel a little labored.

With its music, game show and tabloid elements it’s an exciting modern take on the “kitchen sink” drama.

Show Times: 1st to 27th August 2018 at 4.30pm.

Tickets: £9 (£8) to £12 (£11).