Rocket to the Moon
So far this year I have failed to see Tom Hollander in “A Flea in Her Ear”, and Benedict Cumberbatch in “Frankenstein”. Last night I failed to see Keeley Hawes in “Rocket to the Moon” at The National. Oddly, whereas the first two failures were subject to clear apologies at the theatres, Ms Hawes’ disappearence wasn’t acknowledged at all.
However, even had she fulfilled her role, I would probably have come away feeling short-changed. Keeley Hawes was “the draw” on the advertising, with her image alone on all the posters, yet her character was on stage for less than ten minutes in over two hours. The lead role was that of Cleo Singer, played competently and enthusiastically by Jessica Raine, who I can only image is very frustrated at her marginalisation by the bigger name.
To emphasise the insult with injury, I didn’t care much for the play anyway. The plot can be summed up simply: “Frustrated dentist has short affair with air-headed assistant. Various other men try it on with her. Eventually the girl sees sense.”. Lots of angst, and I don’t do angst. Worse, the Depression-era New York setting was completely wasted. There were characters making lots of money, and others not making enough to survive, but this was mere background, like the Manhattan street sounds filtering in through the back window of the stark set.
This play was a wasted opportunity, and a poor use of a big name.