This review was originally written for and published by The Public Reviews
Writer: David Greig
Director: Guy Hollands
The Public Reviews Rating:
A life changing incident involving one character, and a fateful decision by the other bring together the unlikely protagonists of this latest production from the National Theatre of Scotland. Yellow Moon charts the exploits of “Silent” Leila and “Stag” Lee as they flee Bonnie and Clyde style from a moment of teenage madness.
David Greig’s engrossing play delivers on several levels, firstly giving us a pair of wholly believable central characters who step convincingly from the real world into this story and by providing a piece which manages to avoid the often single-layered characterisations of young people today. In looking at the contradictions of the two teens, both frantically trying to escape the depressing reality of their daily lives, but equally desperate to find a sense of belonging and ultimately love, he delivers a credible and arresting piece of theatre.
The cast of four ably drive the narrative, but it is David Carlyle as cock-sure teen Lee who grabs the lion’s share of the attention. He swaggers arrogantly through the piece but delivers with such an engaging charm that you can’t help but root for him no matter what he says or does. He also skilfully portrays how the teen’s swagger masks a pain caused by a home life blighted by a mother haunted by the black dog of depression.
On the downside, the sometimes smug tone of the narration jars with the more authentic voice of the central action of the piece and the story seems to meander rather than have any particular point to make. That said, the play builds eventually to a gripping and emotional conclusion in which the viewer is fully invested.
Parents may well cringe at the dialogue and antics here, dealing as it does with neglect and self-harm, but any teen today will recognise it as a realistic depiction of their world. This is an intelligent glimpse into the youth of today and how split second actions can affect the whole path of the rest of your life.
A compelling piece of storytelling, sparingly staged and impressively executed, and a piece that lives up to the National Theatre of Scotland’s aim to: “make incredible theatre experiences which will stay in your heart and mind.”
Runs until 22nd September