Review of ‘Build A Rocket’: “It’s not just someone else’s story”

Christopher York’s stirring personal play returns in a new revised version directed by Jordan Langford and starring West End actress and singer Shannon Rewcroft. Guillermo Nazara shares his thoughts on this show dealing with the struggles of single teenage parenting, to let us know what lies within this story about true life success.

Real heroes remain in the dark. We’ve heard that phrase a thousand times. Yet, we don’t abide by it that much. Those who we admire are usually the ones who couldn’t care less about us. More than often, they don’t even know us. But those who have fought our battles without us even realizing are just taken for granted, unaware that it’s their strength that’s allowed us to take that step forward, or maybe a few of them. This is one of this tales. But it’s not just one more tale.

Christopher York’s engaging writing brings the story of Yasmin (a 16-year-old teenager suddenly turned into a mother) to a surprising state of mutual understanding between character and audience. A simple tale that’s not new to the realm of fiction, York’s style achieves new freshness and relatability thanks to its grasping, almost piercing sincerity. The fact that the plot mirrors the journey of his own mother must have surely helped, but it’s the maturity of his dramatism that makes the piece unique.

Yasmin may be a good person (in fact, she is), but that doesn’t make her flawless. She makes mistakes and she must take responsibility for them. It’s not easy, let alone convenient, but eventually that’s what the real world is all about. The play thunderously succeeds at making of her a true heroine instead of a victimized puppet. Her evolution from girl to grown-up woman is crafted with almost perfect pacing and deep intricacy, through the depiction of somebody who only aims to do the right thing – however many errors that may require on its way.

Jordan Langford’s clever directing brings out the script’s intrinsic appeal through a varied and suggestive approach, generating enveloping ambiances despite an almost complete absence of stage elements. With obvious care put into the show’s overall rhythm, the interested is astutely boosted through its stimulating blocking, added short live singing snippets and implied interactions with the viewers.

The final touch is brushed with passion by Shannon Rewcroft’s electrifying performance, making of her character a likable, messy fighter we can’t help but feeling attached to. Also doing small portrayals of other part throughout the narrative, both her and Langford’s take achieve further realism by keeping the essence of Yasmin at all times. It doesn’t feel as if we’re watching a one-person montage jumping from role to role, but if as if a friend was telling us a bunch of anecdotes from their actual past.

Written and interpreted with taste and diligence, York’s Build A Rocket‘s comeback to the scene features the same force and dynamism of its plot. A story of shattered dreams restored by the new ones that fate throws in everybody’s path, it’s also the inspiring tale of what true parental love means. Her son is obsessed with the stars, and she’ll do anything she can so he can reach for them. And so has this show, which clearly got near.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Build A Rocket will play again in London on Bermondsey’s The Pen Theatre and the New Wimbledon Theatre Studio next month. Tickets and dates are available on the following link.

By Guillermo Nazara

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