Feeding the Moonfish – Tristan Bates Theatre, London

Reviewer: Mike Wells

Writer: Barbara Weichmann

Director: Sam Gaffney

Feeding the Moonfish is a show about scars that never heal, and the fragile nature of a tortured mind. From the opening scene to the last, the show teeters on the edge of reason, as the main protagonist struggles to cope with an inner turmoil that’s consuming him.

Weichmann’s script is well constructed and strikes a nice balance between great tension and subtle humour. In places it conjures good poetic moments, which feel organic and seamless, which in the midst of such disorder is no mean feat.

The set is simple but effective. With the action taking place on the edge of a saltwater lake in Florida, Astrid de Pellegars’ design gives us all the clues we need, making good use of the space available. The sound design by George Sampson was great, and played a crucial role in the storytelling, ably assisted by some nice lighting design by Toby Smith.

Productions that tackle issues such as depression and mental illness are now pretty easy to come by on the fringe scene. That’s a great thing in terms of raising awareness, but it does mean that to be one of the better examples takes something special. Unfortunately, this show doesn’t come close.

On the whole, the show appears to lack direction, and while some aspects of the performance are committed and interesting, there is little in the way of chemistry between the two actors. There is very little variance in terms of energy or delivery throughout, which means the show never really gets the chance to breathe or develop into something more interesting…That said, they make fairly good use of the space, and the script does offer some nice moments.

At best it was funny and stimulating, but at worse it bordered on tedious.

Runs until 1st February

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One Comment

  1. I saw this show on Monday and had a quite different experience. Whilst the subject is uncomfortable at times the script was skilfully composed. The chemistry between the actors was palpable and real, the direction showed skill and poise. The sound and lighting created an atmosphere that held the piece well. This young team of emerging talent promises a bright future for the creatives and the performers. I would recommend it.

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