Underbelly, Cowgate (Iron Belly), Edinburgh
Parents seeking a quality family show at this year’s Fringe should get themselves down to the Cowgate without further delay, for Ditto Theatre’s delightful Rocket Girl. This charming blend of puppetry and theatre has a poignant story at its heart.
It’s 1969 and NASA has just put the first man on the moon. Young Maisie Robinson (voiced by Polly Byecroft Brown) lives with her father (Aaron Baker) and is obsessed with the idea of being an astronaut. The two of them have a daily ritual where they train Maisie for the special mission she plans to undertake when she grows up: to be the first woman to walk on the moon. But Maisie’s father works as a coal miner – and, when he is overtaken by serious illness, it’s clear that things are about to change for Maisie – and not necessarily for the better.
‘Maisie’ herself isn’t played by an actor but by a puppet – one that is so convincingly manipulated by her human co-stars that I soon start to think of her as a real person. Six actors embody a whole host of roles, ingeniously using simple props, physical theatre and lighting effects to help them tell the story. And what a delightful story it is, heartwarming, empowering and, moreover, it covers some pretty emotive themes with absolute confidence. The youngsters at the show we attend are spellbound by what’s happening onstage. And so am I.
There are just a few more opportunities left to see this play in Edinburgh. Don’t let them slip away. The countdown to the end of Edfringe 2019 has already begun…