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REVIEW - Glass Ceiling Beneath the Stars (Theatre) [Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2023]

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Glass Ceiling Beneath the Stars, Bric a Brac Theatre, Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2023.

'Glass Ceiling Beneath the Stars' draws inspiration from the 1992 NASA mission STS-47, the 50th Space Shuttle mission of the program, as well as the second mission of Space Shuttle Endeavour. Astronaut Mae Jemison became the first black woman to fly in space, and astronauts Jan Davis and Mark Lee became the first married couple to fly to space together. But whilst everyone asks Mark about the experiments and the science of spaceflight, all anyone on earth wants to know from Jan is, did the couple have sex in space?


Five performers and three cameras investigate sexism at NASA, racial politics in the US and our fascination with the sex lives of others.


The show involves 3 live cameras manipulated by 5 actors in order to create a live film onstage. The production boasts that the film could hold its own and be live streamed separately. Almost! The captions do make it obvious when an actor has fluffed or missed a line. It only happened once that I saw, and the tech team clicked forward quickly in order to re-sync the dialogue, but it was noticeable none the less.


That one minor blip aside, this is one of the most original, innovative, tech-forward productions I've ever seen. The fact that there were not tons of issues is to be applauded. There is so much going on and so many places to look; From the live action, to the cameras, the screens, the experiments in the corner and the actors themselves - it's a stimulating environment. And being set almost 'in the round' there really is nowhere to hide.


The cast are great. I was especially drawn to actor Winnie Arhin, who played Mae Jemison. She hit every emotion, every frustration - and then in the dance scene, she let it all come out.


The music adds interest throughout: From David Bowie, Elton John, Tina Turner and more. I loved that they incorporated real archive film from space shuttle missions; and the occasional glimpse at star fields and space exploration set against this thumping soundtrack is my dream come true.

Glass Ceiling Beneath the Stars, Bric a Brac Theatre, Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2023. Photo credit: Mihaela Bodlovic

There were so many props! But they all came together expertly to create an exhilarating theatre production. I particularly love how they did the zero-gravity effect and the lifts to the space shuttle. So clever! And the lighting and costumes worked brilliantly to enhance the production from beginning to end.


Most importantly, this play challenges the audience, and shines a light on issues facing women in the workplace, whether at NASA or elsewhere. These women changed history! Why did people only care about their skin colour, children or (and I steal this from the show because the line was just so good!) the space between their legs?


With so much science, and so many important issues incorporated within the text, this play could easily have been dark and heavy. But it's presented with a playfulness, and with an eye firmly on entertainment. I like to listen to the audience reaction when a show finishes and here, the group of 20-somethings in front of me were all so animated: "OMG, that was so cool!", "So cool". I love that the show had such a strong impact. And I firmly agree with them. I adored this; it was so cool!


⭐⭐⭐⭐


When and Where?

Pleasance Dome (QueenDome)

August 2nd - 27th

14.00 (60 minutes)


📸 Photo credit: Mihaela Bodlovic

Glass Ceiling Beneath the Stars, Bric a Brac Theatre, Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2023. Photo credit: Mihaela Bodlovic
 

Credits

Director Anna Marshall

Associate Director Ellie Manners

Set & Costume Designer Hugo Aguirre

Composer & Sound Designer Ellie Isherwood

Video Designer Max Spielbichler

Stage Manager & Creative Associate Nikita Bala

Assistant Director Siobhan Cha Cha

Producers Bric a Brac Theatre, Pleasance & Grace Dickson Productions


Cast

Winnie Arhin - Mae Jemison

Alex Hinson - Jan Davis

Marion Burge - 2nd AD/Dorothy Jemison/News Reporter/Psychologist/NASA Employee/NASA Spokesperson

Kitty Devlin - Director/JFK/Hoot Gibson/Teacher/Jan's PA/Psychologist/NASA Executive

Christina Henne Holmbek - Interviewer/Mark Lee/Gift Shop Manager


Glass Ceiling Beneath the Stars, Bric a Brac Theatre, Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2023. Photo credit: Mihaela Bodlovic

About Bric A Brac Theatre


Bric à Brac Theatre are a Lecoq trained devising collective focused on creating unique feminist theatre shows and live experiences. Our practice of collaborative theatre making tackles challenging topics to create the stories that we want to see onstage. We merge theatrical mediums, such as live sound and multimedia, to create productions which ask provocative questions that actively confront our audiences. At the heart of all our work is the desire to foster meaningful connections through artist development and to represent the communities we serve.


About Grace Dickson Productions

Grace Dickson Productions is a bold new production company, developing and producing formally innovative & bitingly relevant new writing that champions marginalised voices. GDP works collaboratively with artists on professional development as well as creating work that isn’t afraid to make a noise and ruffle some feathers. GDP produces work that represents the world we live in and the worlds beyond it; work that is imaginative, playful and boundary-breaking. Previous collaborations include Rhum + Clay, The RECreate Agency, Park Theatre, Bric A Brac, Freight Theatre, Ransack Theatre & Silent Faces, at venues such as Park Theatre, New Diorama, Soho Theatre, Southwark Playhouse, Roundhouse and on tour.


GDP encompasses the work of Grace Dickson, a Newcastle-born producer with a keen eye for powerful, socially relevant new writing. Grace works across the industry in roles including Associate Producer at Francesca Moody Productions, Company Producer for Lagahoo Productions and These Girls, Accounts Assistant/Bookkeeper at Runaway Entertainment & co-founder of HD General Management with Ameena Hamid. Her recent work is supported by the Stage One Bursary for New Producers.

 

🌟REVIEW - Glass Ceiling Beneath the Stars (Theatre) [Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2023]🌟


🎟️ Disclosure: I am an Edinburgh Festival Fringe accredited media reviewer and as such I receive complimentary press tickets in exchange for my honest reviews. My reviews and star ratings are always my honest opinions.


📧 For media and review requests contact Lisa_InTheTheatre@outlook.com

💗 To see more pictures and watch my videos follow @Lisa_InTheTheatre on Instagram

Lisa in the theatre, theater, reviews, blog, Scotland, Scottish

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