The Girl Who Fell in Love with the Moon

A mixed troupe of lost souls find comfort in each other in the enjoyment of telling "silly little stories about silly little things" that are extensions and exaggerations of their own personal dreams. When their car breaks down on the way to the theatre, they fill the time in the way they know best - and so unfolds an hour of whimsical and fantastical storytelling that they perform to us, the "non-existent audience" (they have broken down in a forest after all), all sharing the theme of longing for the unreachable in the skies.

Whilst not advertised as such, I would suggest this is really a show best-suited to pacify children or families.

There's a very simple, old-fashioned style to the young company's performances. With clown make-up on their faces and over-sized clothing to match, they talk and play together as a group in between each of them taking a lead with their own particular tale (from The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes to The Man with His Head in the Clouds and ending with the events of the eponymous Girl Who Fell in Love with the Moon). Predominately using simple rhyming structure, clown-like physicality and silly little jokes, interspersed with music on the accordion, banjo and sax (and random versions of a Coldplay song), the allegories are enjoyable enough, if hardly taxing. There are a few moments of self-aware 'mistakes' and 'nearly rude' jokes to break the pace and raise giggles from the mainly young, teenage audience, and each story allows them to use various circus skills (such as puppetry, dance and shadow play) that nicely pass the time - whilst being short enough to avoid becoming repetitive.

It takes a little while for them to build up momentum with the style and for us to realise what the piece will entail. When delivering the rhyming narration (especially at the start, but never changing dramatically), the cast seem to focus on punctuating the rhymes rather than the words themselves - and so the ear becomes attuned to expect the echo and not really hear what's being said. But the poetry isn't intending to be anything highbrow so the weak delivery doesn't have too detrimental an impact on your understanding of the stories.

The puppetry used to become the characters as they rise into the heavens ("we're low budget" they joke) is sweet and skilful and highlights the closeness of the group - though it would be good to see more of it as these are moments that hint at true skills rather than simple playing.

Whilst not advertised as such, I would suggest this is really a show best-suited to pacify children or families. The undercurrent theme of loneliness won't do anything to upset or confuse youngsters - but isn't clever or deep enough as to be thought-provoking for adults. Indeed, some of the teenagers around me seemed to be lapping it up - wanting to interject their 'oohs and ahhs' in the way this almost pantomime style of a show encourages. It isn't something I will remember but it is harmless throughout with inoffensive performances and playfulness that mean you don't have to think too much about it, which is exactly what you need sometimes. As my colleague said afterwards, it's a perfectly pleasant way to spend an hour on a miserable Monday evening. Just don't expect it to be much more.

Reviews by Simon Ximenez

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The Blurb

'It wasn't a particularly spectacular night, as she sat stargazing in her room...'

Join this tattered troupe as Luna's tragic tale unravels for the first time. But why tonight?

A Tim Burton-esque patchwork of puppetry, poetry, movement and live music stitched together with The Human Zoo's explosive visual imagination.

The Human Zoo Theatre Company have been mentored by Les Enfants Terribles and Lee Simpson (Co-Artistic Director of Improbable and Comedy Store Player) and are supported by The Castle, Wellingborough.

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