Pros: The show does not take itself too seriously. It is playful and informal with a unique and fun structure.
Cons: The blurring of the line between real life and stage life can be unsettling.
Matt and Matthew are the names of the actors on the stage before us at The Yard, performing This Is The Moon, This Is the Earth (We are Here, We are Here). They are also seemingly friends in the real world. They have a story about two astronauts and want to be astronauts in real life. They put on different coloured jumpsuits and boxes on their heads to become astronauts on stage. Then they remove their jumpsuits and boxes and they are Matt and Matthew again, bandying about memories, both shared and personal, then hurling offences, this time just personal.
The majority of the dialogue (mostly side-by-side monologue) is prefaced with of the following openings: “There were these two astronauts and… “, “Do you remember the time when… “ or “I would make the best astronaut because…”. Through these three phrases we receive stories of friendship, fear, competition and self-loathing. Speculation about what it was like to be Elvis Priestly, reminiscences on one of Brian Cox’s finest hours as a performer and moon landing conspiracy theories are also some of the subjects on the menu. It’s a mildly incoherent mix that certainly keeps the audience on its toes while they potentially look for meaning in the madness.
At the heart of the piece (and its several narratives) appears to be the underlying theme of Man vs Man: who is bigger, better and stronger, both mentally and physically. What is uncomfortable about this theme is the implication that this battle to be the best is some long, true-life rivalry between two actor friends that has somehow made it to the stage. What results is a messy explosion of emotion in the form of make-shift ball pits, frolicking in flour, and a man dancing (mostly) naked with a box on his head.
It’s all a little bit chaotic but one can’t help but have an affinity for the characters and their incredibly empathetic human-ness. In the small, intimate theatre at The Yard, the informal delivery of the ensuing craziness and the personal details make you feel as if you’ve know both men for years, as if you are apart of their crew.
While this piece will make you chuckle and wonder in the moment, it almost works better reliving it in memory. It is thinking back through the piece that its theme resonates most strongly and unsettlingly to make the most impactful effect.