Play: Build A Rocket (Age Guidance 14+ due to strong language and adult themes)
Venue: Pocklington Arts Centre
Review by: Julia Pattison
I knew this was going to be a one-woman performance of 75 minutes with no interval, but if I’d thought it was going to be a static monologue, as soon as Serena Manteghi as 16 year old Yasmin exploded on to the stage at Pocklington Arts Centre to loud urban beats and flashing lights, I knew we had Lift Off!
This talented actress was firing on all cylinders throughout her mesmerising performance, challenging our perceptions about young motherhood in a unique, funny, and heart-warming production.
Written by Christopher York, and brilliantly directed by Paul Robinson, Yasmin took us at break-neck speed on her journey through life, when, at 16 she became pregnant to dodgy Dan, and how she was left holding the baby, as well as coping with a troubled family life which included an indifferent, alcoholic mother.
Depressing, right? Wrong!
Serena’s unpredictable delivery (pun intended!) kept you engaged with the action throughout, with her multi-roling being completely believable; her characters realistic and instantly identifiable without being caricatures.
The script included a great many poetic lines in the story telling which really helped to keep the pace, along with the physicality of the performance.
We followed her struggles such as giving birth, parenting and money problems, and willed her on to conquer the many challenges that she faced bringing up her son Jack alone.
The simple set (designed by Helen Coyston) of a metal children’s Merry-Go-Round was used to great effect throughout, with superb design of sound (Simon Slater) and lighting.
We were taken on a roller coaster ride of emotions; without any spoilers, far from the seemingly inevitable spiral into misery, Yasmin learned valuable lessons from her turbulent times, and the ending was wonderfully upbeat, with this feisty female triumphing over adversity against all the odds.