Breakfast Plays: The Future is…
Traverse Theatre, v15
09:00 (13-25 August, various days)
⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4 stars)
Well, the week’s trend was broken in a number of ways this morning – yes, Mooning was written by a woman – Erin McGee: but instead of three women in the cast Neshla Caplan, returning after her excellent performance in yesterday’s breakfast play, was joined by [gosh!] two men: but even more unusually, the play was funny! – not something one expects to see very often at the Traverse, eh?
For the second time this week the play was set on the moon. Sean [Ross Mann] had just arrived and was trying to make friendly overtures to Riley [Neshla] but not meeting with a lot of success – though she did offer to share her blanket with him, which meant he wouldn’t freeze… He appeared to have arrived completely unprepared and with no real idea of what was going on – his constant questioning seemed to get on Riley’s nerves. What was she hiding? What was he hiding? Was this really the home of a cult? And who on earth was Neil? He suddenly appeared, then disappeared, looking very pale, never eating, making weird oracular pronouncements… Why was Riley digging a hole large enough to hold a human being if they laid down in it? Why did Sean eat the biscuits Neil offered him?
These and many other questions will be answered if you take yourself to see Mooning. On the surface, it’s rather lightweight – but underneath the froth that kept much of the audience laughing throughout there is a much darker substratum exploring why and how we might wish to escape from our current lives and what we might be prepared to face in order to find peace and security, to feel safe.
Some great acting – I particularly loved the slightly surreal and spaced out [pun intended] Neil – and an interesting script with a lot of ‘bitty’ dialogue. It didn’t engage me in the way the previous three plays have [possibly because a lot of the extremely “now” references were lost on me], but everyone else loved it. The dénouement made the audience howl with laughter and sent them out cheerfully to face the dreich Edinburgh morning.