To Space (4 stars)

This article is from 2015

To Space

Wonder at the cosmos and dashed dreams in a persuasive solo show

Why do humans long to go into space? Wonder at the immensity of the cosmos is the starting point for Irish actor and scientist Niamh Shaw’s quietly powerful solo show. But despite her facts and figures about space distances and the almost unfathomable age of galaxies, any concerns that Shaw’s show will be a dry academic lecture are soon dispelled as she brings in her hopes and naïve ambitions as a young girl, and questions why she didn’t follow them.

What begins as a show about space slowly shifts to become something far more profound and personal about dashed hopes and disillusion – and the crucial importance of retaining a sense of wonder.

Despite a few clipped sentences, Shaw is naturally expressive on stage, talking with a disarming sincerity, and director Sarah Baxter’s slick production brings in subtle projections and even a live, on-stage experiment. With its high-tech staging and its lining up of the personal next to the universal, To Space feels in many ways like a typical Fringe show. But it’s Shaw’s honesty and growing sense of self-acceptance that make it stand out.

Summerhall, 560 1581, until 30 Aug (not 18, 25), 5pm, £10 (£8).

To Space

  • 4 stars

Niamh Shaw To Space is your telescope into a future and capsule that will preserve the past. Scientist and performer Dr Niamh Shaw has dreamed of space travel from the age of eight. After a year of interviewing astronauts, astrophysicists, space industries and potential future colonists of Mars, she’s discovered that what…