Review: Build a Rocket

An infectious one-woman performance

theatre review (adelaide) | Read in About 2 minutes
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Build A Rocket
Published 16 Feb 2019

Winner of the Holden Street Theatres' 2018 Edinburgh Fringe Award, Build a Rocket is the triumphant struggle of a young woman against all odds.


This is a love story as old as time: naive, teen girl with alcoholic mother falls pregnant and is abandoned by the emotionally unavailable, ‘artistic’, dropkick father of her unborn kid.


OK, maybe categorically not a love story, but the story is as old as time, and we’ve heard it before. What we haven’t heard is Christopher York’s version which is an upbeat modernisation of an urban lexicon, and we definitely haven’t experienced the hijacking of these words by Serena Manteghi to give way to a formidable, committed and infectious one-woman performance.


Manteghi takes to the stage as Yas: a fountain of curls herded by a hair-tie, lad tracksuit pants, lace bra, gold chains, crop top. She morphs from Yas’ alcoholic, neglectful mother to Yas’ archetypal shithead friends; from Danny the father to Jack the son. Manteghi's the only person on stage but a whole world manifests out of her shifting impersonations.


This could be a coming-of-age tale about the resilience of a young woman breaking from a cycle of generational disadvantage. But at its heart is the relationship between mother and son, which develops a little late and is skimmed over too quickly, and yet it’s here we can categorically say there is a love story.