Tuesday, October 21, 2008

"Moonwalking"- October 2008

After missing the first few weeks of this season's "A Play, A Pie & A Pint" I finally made it along to Oran Mor for Nicola Wilson's "Moonwalking". And it serves as an object lesson that I need to make more of an effort - because I would hate to have missed this one. Taking the form of interlinked monologues, it is perfectly suited both to the venue and the timeslot.

The play focuses our attention on the significance of memory as we meet three characters who are suffering from damaged or damaging memories. Time frames seem fluid and there is a good deal of work to be done by the audience to coalesce the events and while the conclusion is clearly presented, I was still piecing the earlier chronology together as I headed back to work.

The cast gave three powerful performances that drew me in completely. William El-Gardi gives a performance full of passion and emotion as soldier Yusuf and drives home the impact his experiences have had on him and his views on the country he has fought for. But he also effectively portrays the family man Yusuf so wants to be. Louise Ludgate's dizzy housewife Hannah builds an instant rapport with the audience and it's through her that most of the advances in the narrative take place. As a contrast, Finlay Welsh's performance is wonderfully casual as door to door salesman Eric while allowing us an insight into his internal traumas.

While the direction didn't hamper the play, having the three characters mostly seated on stage made for a very static production and given the amount of walking the characters do, I was left thinking how much better it would have been on the catwalk style set up that Oran Mor often features. It would also have given the opportunity for the actors to really engage the audience directly. There were some technical difficulties prior to the show on Monday, so I'm unsure if the lighting effects didn't work or if they literally didn't work, but what we got was more a distraction than anything else.

This is an intense piece of theatre that, although having a light touch at times, has moments that do burn into the mind.

Moonwalking runs at Oran Mor until Saturday 25th October.
Image by Leslie Black used with permission