Edinburgh Festival Fringe theatre review: To Space, reviewed by The Scotsman’s David Pollock
“Do YOU ever think about where ‘here’ is?” asks Niamh Shaw, her tone inclusive and reassuring, like a primary school teacher. She’s about to remind us, mapping out our position in creation from the address of Summerhall to the area of Edinburgh, Britain, the world, the number of planets in our galaxy, the numbers of galaxies, of star clusters, of superclusters… we’re tiny, is the point.
There seems to have been a renewed interest in space travel of late, from real-life missions to Mars, Pluto and the Rosetta comet to Christopher Nolan’s film Interstellar, reigniting a fascination which many of a certain generation may have felt in their youth. Shaw knows that feeling. She remembers being dazzled by Star Wars and deciding that she wanted to be an astronaut at the age of eight.
Even as her youthful ambitions were buffed away by real life, she maintained a certain rigour in everything she did – charts of boys she kissed and average bedtimes gave way to the study of science – and when her thoughts returned to the void as an adult, it left her wondering if she could still fulfil that ambition.
It’s one of those tales which feels a little too constrained by its high concept “journey” it sets its teller, but Shaw is a delightful storyteller and her research and personal observations make this a compelling hour for anyone who’s ever looked closely at the night sky or wanted to hear a woman take ownership of the frontier.
Summerhall (Venue 26), run ended
Published in The Scotsman on 29 August 2015
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