Reviewing bad theatre is easy; reviewing good theatre is hard; reviewing great theatre is very difficult indeed. When I sat down to watch Moonlight on Leith, I confess I was hoping for an easy ride. Damn you to the bowls of hell REDCAP Theatre because this is a hard review to write. The difficulty is finding something I didn’t like.
I can’t look to the direction for any help. Debi Pirie’s work is slick, stylish, well-rehearsed and beautifully conceived. Perhaps I could have a poke at the lighting? Nope. The company use every watt at their disposal (within the Jenner Theatre’s limitations) to craft the magnificent and multicoloured world of Leith. Maybe there’s something in the acting I can have a go at? If only! The cast of graduates look like they’ve been on stage for decades, bending lyrical texts to their will while bringing multitudes of characters to life in a very instant.
The play is skilfully delivered by an exceptional company of young talent that will delight Leithers and tourists alike. Interspersed with beautifully arranged folk songs (Musical Direction courtesy of Nicola Alexander) the play trips along from scene to scene providing comedy and pathos in equal measure. Work like this rely on the ability of the actors to craft characters from thin air, and this cast do not disappoint. To say that the play is good ensemble work would be to do down individual triumphs of the five and they all deserve their column inches. Kyle Martin’s existentially burdened cat, Hank, is as loveable as his policeman-in-training and he brings energy and focus to every role. Andrew Goven-Hall masterfully demonstrates his skills and range but particularly shines as Sgt. Ham charged with Leith’s peace while battling his own demons, insecurities, and personal problems. Ania Myszkowska is utterly spellbinding as Mrs Potts (how could Mr Potts ignore her?), equally hilarious delivering the spoken words of the enraging hipster and completely detestable as the soulless Mr Glum. Lucy Deehan swaps deftly between the heart-breaking role of Sandy (who doesn’t work on a Sunday) and the incredibly funny Snakey (she prefers just Snake actually) as well as a myriad of other brilliant appearances. Last but by no means least is the incredible Nicola Alexander whose character vocal range is something to behold. Alexander draws the audience in to every role and allows us to laugh at, and feel great empathy towards every one of them she embodies, Big Tam the Meat Man and Angie Frangipane being particular favourites.
I’ve cherry picked some of the key moments, but I could easily write another two thousand words on why this was a great piece of theatre from start to finish. By the time this review gets published you’ll only have one or two chances left to see the show. Don’t miss out!
A spellbinding hour of storytelling that delights, entertains and touches its audience in equal measure.