It’s Not Rocket Science is a new piece of writing from Cecilia Alexander, produced by Nottingham New Theatre, exploring the misogyny within the aerospace engineering industry. The piece features recorded voice overs from experienced professionals within this industry and their encounters with sexist behaviours and attitudes from their peers, these act as scene transitions for the main story that follows a character called Eve, who’s infatuated with the concept of space and wishes to pursue a career in it.
The piece should perhaps not strictly be classed as verbatim theatre, when these elements seem to comprise so little of the overall play, however these real life accounts and stories do add an effectiveness to what the piece is trying to communicate and display.
Alexander’s script also has its moments throughout, maintaining a good balance between its humour and its commentary right until the end. However, it is the execution of the dialogue that lets it down specifically. The natural speech between scenes reminds us how stilted and unnatural the written dialogue sounds in comparison.
It’s Not Rocket Science also struggles to fully explore it’s themes in an original way, with monologues and conversations that feel recycled from similar stories. A lot of this is due to its short run time, and while what is being said in the piece is important and effective, it could be even more so if the themes, and thoughts and feelings, of the protagonist were given more time to be discussed.
The performer portraying Eve gives a strong performance, with humour and charisma throughout, a particular highlight of the piece being Eve’s monologue to her parents. The other two performers also hold their own, apart from a slightly questionable American accent during one scene. The performances also fall victim to the half-baked script, the forced-sounding dialogue detracts from the whole experience, regardless of the skills of the cast.
All in all, It’s Not Rocket Science isn’t perfect, but it is charming, interesting and a short and sweet exploration of themes that are not often visited in theatre, suitable for all ages and bound to leave the audience feeling amused and inspired, as well giving them some much need food for thought.
It’s Not Rocket Science runs until the 28th August at The Space @ Surgeon’s Hall