Posts Tagged ‘D C Moore’

The backdrop to D C Moore’s new play is the enclosures of the late 18th / early 19th centuries, the greatest land-grab in history, when power shifted from the many to the few (to coin a topical phrase!). Then he adds a layer of supernatural, magical, pagan stuff. Then he adds the story of Mary returning from London to her village to reunite with her former lesbian lover and whisk her off to the US. It has it’s moments but turns out to be a bit of a muddle, I’m afraid

Before the enclosure acts, all land was common, regardless of ownership. Anyone could grow, graze or rear to make a living and feed their families. The acts gave landowners exclusive use, and most didn’t even employ the disenfranchised. Mary returns to her former home as it is about to become victim to one such act. Her backstory and future plans are interwoven with the political events and the mysterious goings on. Everyone thought she was dead, Laura’s brother King hates her, the Lord fancies her but his henchman Heron loathes her, young boy Eggy Tom befriends her and she ends up as the Lady of the manor.

It does have a boisterousness and an anarchic quality and there’s a lot to like in Jeremy Herrin’s staging and Richard Hudson’s design. There are fine performances from, amongst others, Cush Gumbo as Laura & Lois Chiminba as both Eggy Tom and Young Hannah and a virtuoso one from Anne-Marie Duff as Mary. It lacks pace at times, and not everyone will like the fruity and somewhat incongruous dialogue. It’s biggest issue, though, is that it lacks narrative cohesion and doesn’t really go anywhere.

They’ve chopped some 30 minutes off the published time, which may indicate a troubled birth. Though I liked things about it, I couldn’t honestly recommend it.

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Apart from The Swan, part of the NT Paintframe quartet of new plays, the work of hotly tipped playwright D C Moore has passed me by. This new four-hander has come from Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre, directed by Richard Wilson, who has a real affinity with new writing.

Young couple Lewis & Morgan occupy a small flat which they bought as an investment but ended up living in after it’s value dropped by £50k. Despite the size of their home, they decide to start a family but just as they are about to make the first attempt Lewis’ college friend Waldorf arrives (quite possibly the most original entrance ever, which I will not give away), returning from a 7-year gap year, to claim the sofa and rule out baby-making.

The following day, Lewis arrives home to find Steph, someone who Waldorf has picked up, is also there. Steph has stories to tell of adventurous sex. In a combination of dare, adventure and experimentation, Waldorf and Lewis (both straight) decide to have sex with each other and video it. Lewis confesses to wife Morgan, who reluctantly ‘agrees’ and off they go to a hotel room.

Though it’s often very funny and its beautifuly played, the core problem for me is the complete implausibility of the situation. I just didn’t believe it would happen to these people at this time of their life in this way. It’s fair to say that the second act, in the hotel bedroom, is superb and the set up is good, but the second half of the longer first act, where the implausibility starts, drags.

Henry Pettigrew and Philip McGinley are both excellent as Lewis and Waldorf. Jessica Ransom did well to bring life to Morgan, a character lost in such a big story. I would have loved to see more of Jenny Rainsford’s lovely portrait of wild child Stpeh.

Fun, but in the end lacking in depth and believability.

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