Caroline Hodges reviews David Greig’s Yellow Moon, yet another cutting edge play performed at Cathays’s cultural capital Sherman Cymru.
I went to Sherman Cymru, in the pouring rain as per usual for Cardiff, not really knowing what to expect from Yellow Moon. I had read a short description which proclaimed it to be a ‘modern Bonnie and Clyde story’ and seen a picture of a bald man with a beard. The conspicuously small audience made me wonder, for a second, if maybe this play was going to be a bit of a letdown. I did not know that I was about to witness one of the best pieces of theatre I’ve had the privilege to see.
The play, written by David Greig and directed by Guy Hollands, both of whom did a fantastic job, featured a very vivid narrative and a team of four very talented actors. Once I got used to the strong Scottish accents I found that I could visualise everything that they were talking about – from graveyard scenes to a wall of flames – perfectly, despite the fact that the only props used were four chairs and a hat. Yellow Moon is performed ‘in the round’, meaning there were chairs on all four sides of the performance space. No set, no fancy costume changes, the play relied entirely on the well-written script, energetic direction and enthusiasm of the actors to bring to life the story of Stag Lee and Silent Leila, two teens who become involved in a murder and go on the run together to find Lee’s father. It’s a tale of friendship, love and finding yourself in the strangest places.
The attention to detail that was put into every facial expression, gesture and subtle movement made me lose myself in the story. The close proximity to the action and the amount of eye contact that the actors made with the audience, together with them sometimes sitting in amongst us, made me really feel that I was part of the performance. Yellow Moon is a powerful piece of story-telling theatre, which shows you the action at the same time as it is described to you. The amount of time and rehearsal that has gone into this play is evident by the fantastic timing of the actors, the way they sometimes speak in unison. The story itself is, in turns, funny, moving and very real.
In the end, the only thing that disappointed me about Yellow Moon was how few people were there to see how good it was.