But…Is it (rocket) science?

More from AJ Clay, peeping out from the 2022 Fringe

It’s Not Rocket Science [theSpace @ Symposium Hall] (@LetterFLetterTC)

‘I’m a woman… but I’m so much more.’

Eve has always been fascinated with the stars and space, but not everyone around her is convinced that a woman should be aspiring to a career in engineering. This play from Nottingham-based Letter For Letter tracks her journey from a girl taping Barbies to rockets, to a woman fighting to have her voice heard in a male-dominated industry.

Each section is divided into chapters of Eve’s memoir, taking in her childhood, student days and engineering career. While the set is changed we hear a selection of clips from real women in aerospace jobs. It’s an infuriating eye-opener into the challenges faced even in the allegedly progressive modern era.

Alice Connolly exudes childlike wonder and righteous anger in the lead role, while Stef White is by turns sleazy as a sexist male student and arrogant panel moderator, and tender as Eve’s father. Helen Knudsen provides support as, among others, a celebrity scientist who grossly misinterprets Eve’s presence at an interview. There’s no scene that drags; everything is paced well.

Letter For Letter have created an important piece of theatre that will resonate with any woman in STEM, or hoping for a science-based career.

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The Twenty-Sided Tavern [Pleasance King Dome] (@TheTSTavern)

If you’ve ever played Dungeons and Dragons, you’ll love the adventures of DAGL, Sarah, Mateo, Travis, Madelyn and Carlina. The beloved roleplaying game has been given a modern twist, and it went down a storm in the packed King Dome.

Everyone chooses a coloured die as they come in, which assigns them to fighter, mage or rogue teams. Thanks to innovative technology from Gamiotics, all the audience then needs is a smartphone to scan a QR code and they can help out with the epic quest in Coldfire Cavern. From riddles to virtual tug-of-war and polls, it all works brilliantly. There’s real-life audience participation too; the fast and furious Jenga game was a delight, as was the pickle juice shot roulette.

Aside from our Game Master behind his screen and the D20-rolling, it’s certainly not a standard gaming session. Whether it’s Jeff the bat (whose name like other characters is sourced from audience suggestions) or the overprotective centaur in a chainmail miniskirt fighting alongside a shapeshifting mage that transforms into a chipmunk, this is a hilarious cheap prop-fuelled romp that will be different for each show.

It’s anarchic and joyful, and very reminiscent of interactive videogame show WiFi Wars. Buy a mug of ale and get to this tavern as soon as you can.

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