The tricky thing with a show like
The Man On The Moor is a somber but exciting exploration on what it means to be lost.
Much of the show rides on the strength of its creator. Dickins acts as both writer and performer, succeeding admirably in both, and gives his script the restrained emotionality it needs. His performance throughout is measured and confident, and though he could do to find a bit more range within his narration, his portrayals of the various minor characters he interacts with are excellent. Too often in one-person shows these smaller roles take on a one-dimensional, pantomimic quality; Dickins gives them the attention and subtlety they require, elevating the show substantially. It feels like a deeply mature piece of storytelling.
What makes The Man On The Moor work is how instantly it grips the audience with its premise. There’s something instinctive in us that makes unexplained deaths both deeply interesting and unsettling. The Man On The Moor plays on this instinct wonderfully in the first half of the play, as CCTV images, self-portraits, and details of a doomed man’s journey are drip-fed in tantalising succession. The script twists and turns with satisfying thematic punch, but by the end of the play the story has transformed into something quite different from what one might have expected in the first ten minutes. Dickins makes an admirable appeal for increased awareness of missing persons, and greater sympathy for those whom it affects, but it doesn’t end as interestingly as it began. That’s not to say it fails to deliver, merely that the instinctive attraction to the mysterious isn’t satiated.
The Man On The Moor is a somber but exciting exploration on what it means to be lost. A strong performance ties together the tricky elements of the script into something that makes you think, makes you feel, makes you want to find the answers.