Moonchild follows a 13-year-old girl through the toughest period of her life so far: her parents are fighting – a lot – and her best friend (her dog Mostov) has run away. We watch her as she struggles to come to terms with big shifts occurring all around her, forcing their way into her life.
The chemistry between the two main actors, Scarlett Waters (13) and Julia Patey (23) is palpable. The voice work of our young heroine Moonchild (Waters) is admirable. It is so refreshing and heartening to ear a young woman speaking in her real voice. This may perplex some readers who are not familiar with voice work but it occurred to me some years ago that many women do not speak in the full depth and resonance of their true voice. Instead we pitch upwards, seeking to sound more “feminine”. It is so lovely to see here a young woman owning her true voice.
The soundscape, designed by Tom Hogan, is excellent. It creates an eerie and immersive sense of other-worldliness as the audience enters the space and continues to transport the audience throughout the piece. Cinematic at times, atmospheric at others – it even includes a wonderful rendition of the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey remixed with a killer synth beat.
The lighting design (Cameron Elkin) is used to great effect, to not only change the mood but also to change locations, with twinkling stars at the rear of the stage not only beautiful but also quite poetic. Set design (Georgia Hopkins) is simple but effective, the main piece being a Hills Hoist which was turned by characters to change locations during scenes.
The script by Julia Patey is touching and at times funny. It is not without its awkward moments (some of the dance routines are used to great effect while others seem out of place and gimmicky) but in the end it is an excellent exploration of what it is to be 13: the uncertainty, the friendship rivalries, the insistence that one is grown-up enough to look after oneself while still clinging desperately to childhood and the support of Mum and Dad. The desperately needing something, but not necessarily knowing what it is. I did wonder if seeing the show at the age of 13 would change my perspective on it. It’s a very true representation looking at it from my adult years, but I wondered whether I would have found it somewhat condescending if I were the same age as the heroine (this was my default response to any theatre aimed at people my age when I was in my adolescence). Having said that though, I’d still encourage you to take your kids. This is a play which will create the opportunity for many important conversations.
Kitty Hopwood – Theatre Now