Review: Chaika: First Woman in Space – Esme Leitch

Show: Chaika: First Woman in Space
Venue: theSpace on North Bridge
Star rating: ****
Reviewer: Esme Leitch

Chaika: The First Women in Space promised an exciting retelling of the inspirational true
story behind Soviet Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova and did not disappoint. The audience shuffled into the intimate (and sold out) venue to a pre-set playlist that combined synthwave with original recordings from early space missions, setting the tone for what was to be an informative but effortlessly cool performance from Acting Coach Scotland.

The play opened with a captivating monologue from one of the entirely female cast taking the audience straight into the politics and high drama of the Space Race between the USSR and the USA. The next 50 minutes followed the journey of a young weaver from growing up in a small village in Russia facing societal pressures surrounding the role of women at that time to becoming the first woman in Space. The cast took in turns to act as the heroine, performing a monologue for each stage of her life showcasing their obvious individual talent, with the transition between each actor nicely represented by the passing of a name badge. Each speech was supported by an ensemble of the remaining cast members who highlighted the symbiosis of the group by some well-choreographed physical theatre adding a strong visual element to the production.

This piece of theatre explored themes of female strength, femininity, role models and ambition while providing a high quality and understated piece of drama that kept the audience engaged. I left inspired with a want to learn more about the history of women in the space industry. Whether you’re a space lover, history lover or theatre lover (or all three), this production is definitely worth a watch.

Chaika: First Woman in Space
Tickets available here
theSpace on North Bridge
6 – 24 August (not 13, 18)
2:20pm (50 minutes)

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