Yellow Moon #1

March 17, 2011

“Let’s sit close together and hold our hands out to the fire and let’s think to ourselves we never want this moment to end because now, at last, we’re in a story.”

I’m not sure where or how to start. A story of teenage romance? A mythical fairytale? A social comment on broken families and celebrity culture? To its absolute credit, Yellow Moon is near impossible to categorize. Moments of tongue-in-cheek comedy go hand-in-hand with instances of heart-breaking sincerity. Stylized and heightened direction is interspersed with subtle performance work and a powerful economy of gesture. It’s assured – bold, even – and yet, surprisingly delicate; charmingly modest. It’s Aha and Heat magazine meets red skies, deer and a yellow moon. It’s an irresistible piece of theatre.

The premise: ‘Stag’ Lee Macalinden and Leila Suleiman are on the run. They’re an unlikely pairing; Lee is boisterous and brash, while Leila is silent, introverted. But they’re both aching for something real. As the tale unfolds, transporting us from the local chippie in the dead-end town of Inverkeithing to the snowy Scottish highlands, it takes on an almost ethereal quality. Woods, fires, lochs and human hearts; epic episodes play out on the Alma’s intimate stage with the help of a distinctly home-made aesthetic. Actors flutter blue gels in front of the minimal lighting rig to take us underwater. They self-consciously smudge their cheeks with black powder to suggest the aftermath of fire. But my feeling is that the production could have pushed this make-shift approach further, rendering it a conscious and continual stylistic choice, rather than an occasional feature.

Kyle Major and Helen Cooper are perfectly cast as the play’s protagonists; endearing in swagger and silence, respectively. Dave Ridley and Becky Ripley provide gorgeous musical accompaniment which helps to lift this lyrical text off the page, while three narrators continually confound and undercut our expectations through alternately flippant and feeling delivery. In all, Nel Crouch and Fiona Mackinnon have orchestrated a rather wonderful production, which can only stand to flourish further before it heads up to the Edinburgh Fringe this summer.

Yellow Moon, by David Greig, ran at the Alma Tavern Theatre from 7th – 11th March 2011, and was directed by Nel Crouch and Fiona Mackinnon. It will be touring to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this summer.

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