Yellow Moon – Review

February 3, 2014 | By | Reply More

✭✭✭✭✩   Thunderstruck

Bedlam Theatre Wed 29/Thurs 30 Jan 2014

The EUTC give a thunderous showing of David Greig’s Yellow Moon at the Bedlam, with a production that flows seamlessly through Greig’s dark, poetic, script.

Macleod Stephen (Stag) with Casey Enochs (Leila) and Caitlin Mclean. Photo © Paul Alistair Collins Photography

Macleod Stephen (Stag) with Casey Enochs (Leila) and Caitlin Mclean.
Photo © Paul Alistair Collins Photography

This is the ballad of teenagers Leila and Lee, teenage misfits in the mould of Bonny and Clyde – although they are from Inverkeithing – who head off to the Highlands in search of Lee’s dad.

Lee is “Stag” Lee McAlinden, the cocksure tearaway lad with a clinically depressed mother and an ever-present baseball cap, who one desperate night when everything seems to be going just right, finds himself stabbing his mother’s boyfriend.

Leila is “Silent Leila” Suliman, arrived in Fife when her family fled some nameless war in the 90s who says nothing in school, and who on that same desperate night, just after cutting herself in the toilets of the all-night shop, finds herself up the local graveyard with Stag.

Director Julia Carstairs has created a tight ensemble from her cast of four, playing to their strengths and giving them space to explore the depths and nuances of the script.

In her hands, this feels raw and powerful, channelling the Ballad of Stagger Lee, the great American folk song which was one of Greig’s inspirations. There is a real edge to the characters – a sense that they are close, that anything might happen.

“deep-running complexities and fears…”

Macleod Stephen gives a twitching, strutting performance as Stag. He captures the nature of the playground outcast in whom the rest of the school is secretly in awe. Outwardly self-confident – there are deep-running complexities and fears behind his facade.

Macleod Stephen (Stag) with Nathan Trotter and Casey Enochs. Photo © Paul Alistair Collins Photography

Macleod Stephen (Stag) with Nathan Trotter and Casey Enochs.
Photo © Paul Alistair Collins Photography

 

Silent Leila is an even more complex character to create, and Casey Enochs does an exemplary job in doing so. The trick is to create both the outward, taciturn facade and the conflicted inner voice, constantly commenting on what is going on around her – and do so in such a way that they can be simultaneously on stage.

Completing the ensemble, Caitlin Mclean and Nathan Trotter ensure that it remains true. Mclean is particularly fine in her slight and well-observed reactions, both as Stag’s mother and, in particular, as Holly, the celebrity who Leila meets on the Highland estate where they pair end up working for Drunk Frank.

Trotter overcomes accent difficulties in the early scenes where he doesn’t convince in the tricky scenes between Stag and his mum’s boyfriend. But when the youngsters have made good their escape and are in the Highlands, he comes into his own as he lets the script open up in the role of Frank.

With no scenery and only a few costumes, this depends on the performers to use the language to conjure Stag and Leila’s reality onto the empty stage. They are helped by excellent lighting design.

The company are blessed with a particularly powerful script to work with, but this is still an exceptional production, one which flits by, reducing a skittish audience to silence and leaving its haunted mark upon them.

Running time 1 hr 20 mins.
Run ended.
Bedlam Theatre, 11b Bristo Place, Edinburgh, EH1 1EZ
EUTC website: www.bedlamtheatre.co.uk

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ENDS

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