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Moon Project, Ovalhouse – Review

Rachel Blackman
Directed by Paul Hodson and Emma Roberts  

Pros: The characters are complex and wonderfully written and the concept is interesting and fully realised. Strong performances from the cast and some mesmerising movement create an absorbing production.

Cons: The energy wanes a little in the second half of the drama, and it takes a while to put the pieces together to appreciate the story unfolding.

Our Verdict: This is an interesting and engaging play that explores a simple concept in a complex and captivating way. It is well worth seeing.

Courtesy of ovalhouse.com

I love going to the Ovalhouse. It’s a friendly, welcoming venue with a large bar/café area filled with comfy sofas where you can have a relaxing pre theatre drink and catch up. There are two theatre spaces and shows run parallel so there is a lot to see on the bill. I’ve seen a few shows there and the production values are high with clever attention to detail, which delivers the interesting new writing with finesse. They seem to have a way of selecting material that is purposeful and thought provoking and Moon Project is no exception.

It is a story of two worlds colliding (excuse the cliché), quite literally. Two very different people are brought together when Shahab hits Leila with his car. The play explores their differences and their individual stories are cleverly revealed through a series of monologues, dialogues and presentations to the audience, which give insight into the personalities, strengths and insecurities of the protagonists. It is a series of scenes, not in chronological order, that culminate in a clear conclusion of who Leila and Shahab are and what they mean to each other.

I really like the concept and the play is interesting as it leaps and twists through the plot. The characters are written with strength and it’s fantastic just how much is revealed about the backgrounds and life histories of Leila and Shahab in such a short space of time in an essentially simple story. I was particularly pleased that the ending winds away from the direction you think you are being taken. There are scenes of mesmerising and poignant movement, which add a wonderful ethereal quality to ideas that may be difficult to deliver with prose. The acting is really good – Rachel Blackman and Jules Munns deliver convincing performances and I felt connected to the characters by the end of the evening. The minimal staging is effective; mime-like movement is used in place of simple props leaving the performance space free of clutter and allowing the audience to interpret the scenes in their minds’ eye.

Although Rachel Blackman as Leila brings a real energy to the piece, there are times when the pace waned. It wasn’t until the very end that I fully comprehended the timeline. And as there is no visual reference to anchor the time and place, there were moments when I felt a little lost. The story definitely gets there in the end though and it does so in a clever and thought provoking way. I really enjoyed this performance and its clever concept is well worth seeing.

Please feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!

Moon Project runs at The Ovalhouse Theatre until 16th November 2013. 
Box office 020 7582 7680 or book on line at http://www.ovalhouse.com/whatson/booktickets/moonproject

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