MISSION TO MARS To 13 November.


by Clare Duffy, Jon Spooner and Chris Thorpe.

Royal & Derngate (Royal auditorium) Guildhall Road NN1 1DP To 13 November 2010.
Fri 10.30am & 1.15pm Sat 2pm.
Runs 1hr 10min No interval.

TICKETS: 01604 624811.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 9 November.

One small step back for science in young people’s theatre?
Once upon a time an actor called Bernard Miles ran the Mermaid Theatre in London, where he set up Molecule Theatre to tour plays for young people which explained scientific things. For example, in one called The Patent Office Robbery it was explained how levers work, so heavy objects could be moved when they were being robbed.

Polka Theatre and Unlimited Theatre are doing something similar in Mission to Mars. There’s an adventure as a woman and man, who have wanted to fly in space since they were children, like the 7-11 year olds in the audience, leave earth’s atmosphere and become weightless. They show this by swinging around and hanging sideways or upside-down.

Four more people follow them in another spaceship, on a video-screen. But Gail and Stefan are to be first on Mars. Then something goes wrong, and Stefan has to go outside to fix it.

We see a big picture of him floating in his space-suit. At first he wants to come back in but Gail says he has to stay outside and mend their ship. Then, when he’s done that and she tells him he can come back in, he doesn’t want to.

It seems strange things happen to you in space, because at one time they both grow hyper. Their friends tell them to calm down. When things go really wrong, it’s not in the way you expect.

And they tell you about science. Except, Molecule used to explain things to fit what was happening, but here they’re just explanations, so you don’t listen so much. And some of it’s very complicated for anyone who needs gravity told to them. And why does someone throw red balls at the person talking about gravity? That’s hardly gravity. Though it’s quite fun to watch.

There are flashing lights, and music that suggests someone has seen Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001 and taken a liking to the music Mr Kubrick used. Mission to Mars has its moments (though not that many), but the biggest question is why Polka, a leading company in young people’s theatre, chose to do it.

Director: Jon Spooner.
Designer: Rhys Jarman.
Lighting: Ben Pacey.
Sound/Multimedia: Mic Pool.
Aerial consultant: Layla Rosa.

2010-11-11 14:42:48

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