Rocket Post – Scottish Storytelling Centre

Written & Directed by Lewis Hetherington

Associate Direction by Sam Hardie

Rating: 5 out of 5.

It’s July 1934, and the inhabitants of the Western Isles of Scotland don’t know it yet, but they’re watching history unfolding. Huddled together on a small stretch of sandy beach, the islanders watch as Gerhard Zucker looks to the skies to answer the problems of communication.

In an era where communication is streamlined, we still find ourselves even more so unable to speak freely and openly with friends and family. And Constellation Point’s Rocket Post goes beyond the scope of a historical adventure for children, and branches into a touching narrative of a young islander’s hopes to push beyond the boundaries of the shore and see what lies beyond the horizon.

Reimagined from the earlier National Theatre of Scotland production, this quaint and superbly charming musical experience combines a plethora of storytelling techniques and mechanics to bring the story of Zucker, and a young islander, as the pair learn from one another and endeavour to re-build the rocket. Performed by David Rankine, MJ Deans and designer Ailie Cohen, Rocket Post has a stellar trio leading the performance from conception to finale. Lewis Hetherington’s writing encapsulates all – like any children’s production worth its salt, Rocket Post ensnares all ages in its orbit, able to traverse boundaries to include all.

Thus, it’s only fitting that language should play such a major role within the production, as the musicality of the show mingles together not only English but snippets of German and a wealth of Gaelic interactions leading to some highly amusing scenes where Zucker confronts the Island locals. Not only auditory, though Niroshini Thambar and Nik Paget-Tomlinson’s scoring and sound design is a triumph, Constellation Point’s show understands the visual nature of Children’s Theatre, with creative and diverse textures and sights for the entire room to enjoy. In particular, the pipe-cleaner Chickens and Cows are by no exaggeration more for the adults to giggle at than the kids. And from the construction of the rocket itself to Cohen’s gorgeous design of unfolding larger-than-life envelopes surrounding us, it’s all framed beautifully by Lizzie Powell’s lighting – whether to capture the serenity of the Scottish coast or the eruption and symbolic failures of the rocket’s less-than-successful voyage.

These flittering letters, charred, but salvaged, are still visible today in the Island’s Museum. And In conjecture with Constellation Points thoroughly charming production support a legacy of invention and determination to be carried into fresh minds eager to innovate and change the world. Zucker’s rocket may have never truly flown, but in this memory, Rocket Post takes off in the hearts and minds of creatives across the world as it recaptures the eccentricities and excitement Zucker felt all those decades ago.

Eccentric Excitement

For further information relating to Constellation Points, Rocket Post, and further touring dates – please consult their website here.

Photo Credit – Saskia Coulson

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