It Is Rocket Science V2 @ The Gilded Balloon
It Is Rocket Science V2 @ The Gilded Balloon

It Is Rocket Science V2 @ The Gilded Balloon

5/5 stars
Event review by Bernard O'Leary.
Published 26 August 2010

Helen Keen's one-woman show about the history of rockets has already been commissioned by the BBC. It's easy to see why. The show is fascinating and hilarious, and Keen herself is a delight, speaking about space travel with the giddy enthusiasm of Sir Patrick Moore on a sugar high.

Using some exquisite lo-fi shadow puppets, Keen explains how she became obsessed with rockets as a child. She dreamed of being an astronaut and was disappointed to find herself ending up as an office temp in Ruislip, but retained an impressive expertise on the subject. This knowledge is gleefully shared with us as she speaks about the first cat in space, the contributions made to NASA by Satanists and Roswell's unluckiest resident. Rockets are also, of course, weapons, and Keen spends a lot of time on the dark side of her favourite invention. Even that is funny, littered with anecdotes about evil typography and exploding bats.

It's a spellbinding hour. Her passion for the subject is genuine and she has an uncanny ability to turn obscure details into hilarious anecdotes. She is the teacher you never had and always wanted. Here's hoping that the BBC  commission even more of her work.