Moondial

This piece by Moving Lights Theatre Company tells of a dreamlike adventure through the imagination of a depressed young woman. Harley has a difficult time at university: she struggles to make friends and cohabit with flatmates; combined with other factors, this results in her suffering mentally. She seems to be on the verge of defeat when out of the blue she discovers a group of eclectic eccentric women behind the cleaning cupboard door. She is able to talk to them openly, unlike with other people, and with their support begins to understand her illness and come to terms with it. In order to overcome her mental demons she has to complete a mythical quest that involves saving her new found companions, in a series of tasks culminating in the winding of the Moondial.

This is an intriguing little piece from the young Edinburgh-based company. Shows about depression and mental illness by drama students can come with caveats of pretension as the subject matter is somewhat cliché. However, this was all but avoided in a story that focused more on the intricacies and creativity of the girl’s mind, looking at the positivity of recovery rather than labouring the dark angst of the condition. The story is all in the girl’s mind and her imaginative quest becomes a metaphor for conquering her ailment. The writing is fresh, if a touch melodramatic in a couple of places; the performers are all competent but occasionally also guilty of being melodramatic. Helen McMillan gave a particular noteworthy performance as the lead, creating genuine empathy amongst the audience with a final piteous outburst at the end. The far-fetched quest, although obviously intentionally fantastical, felt a little hackneyed and unnecessarily corny. However, the conclusion did feel more human and real, and was a very satisfactory conclusion. Overall this is a worthwhile performance from an up and coming theatre company to look out for.

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The Blurb

Harley wants to tell you a story, about the mysterious and eccentric women who rescued her from herself and how ultimately she became the only one able to save them. A bittersweet dark comedy/fantasy about depression and escapism.

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