Rocket @ St John's Hall, Edinburgh
August, 2000

No programme was supplied, so I am unable to name the guilty people. To judge by the company credits on the poster, this rambling, pointless play is a Cambridge student production. Certainly it combines an inexperienced view of professional middle-class life with that strange inability many post-adolescents have to give a credible portrayal of themselves only a few years in the past.

A middle-aged journalist and an A-level schoolgirl have a strong emotional attachment (though nothing more); he had, several years previously, courted her mother but had disappeared suddenly and without explanation from either. His reappearance in their lives is the cue for an hour and a half of theatrical tedium.

If the cast of five can act, they have scarcely been directed to do so. They hit their marks on the stage and make perfunctory stabs at various moods, but little more, and in one particular case much less. The script, when coherent, is never plausible, and vice versa. A fairy-tale motif woven through the action shows an awareness but no understanding of Angela Carter's pioneering work in remaking such stories. Perhaps I have simply been lucky in the other 55 shows I have seen so far this month, but I take no pleasure in stating that this bids fair to be the nadir of my Fringe 2000.

Written for the Financial Times Web site, ft.com

Copyright Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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