The Moor by Catherine Lucie
Old Red Lion (quick walk from Angel tube station) until 3rd March
1 hr 20, no interval
Veronica Stein, 9th February 2018.
Powerfully fusing forms
Bronagh is a new mother who has recently become motherless. We meet her first while she is deeply asleep, right before she gets into a row with her slightly bumbling, largely menacing boyfriend about a stranger he saw her having a conversation with at the club earlier that evening. She seems, first and foremost, to focus on Graeme and in keeping him calm.
The next day, a hideous crime has happened in their small town, and Bronagh grows increasingly suspicious of the whether or not Graeme might have been involved. After all, he was drunk, she was drunk, she had some very realistic dreams (perhaps they were real after all?), and the moor their house is surrounded by is replete with superstition- and elves.
The Moor is partially domestic drama and partially a thriller- though more than anything else, Catherine Lucie’s fluid and well-constructed script is character driven. Bronagh is played with searing doubt by Jill McAusland, who in several different accounts describes what she think she saw unfurl, with different details each time. While she earnestly tries to tell the truth, it’s clear that in condemning some, she will firmly improve her life- is the narrative she recalls an exercise in justice or self-preservation?
Holly Piggott’s design makes great use of the limited space with textured earth, painted plastic, and a collages of objects from domestic life and the police station to help give the story dimension. Blythe Stewart’s direction in tandem with Lucie’s script provide the short piece with a feeling of fullness, along with proper pacing and an eerie sensibility that suits the tales Bronagh fears about the Moor. Oliver Britten as Graeme and Jonny Magnanti as Policeman Pat (a decent officer who knew Bronagh when she was little), fill out Bronagh’s story with ease and are compelling, though we wish the loose ends mentioned regarding their characters were either further developed are forgotten altogether. Though there were some moments in the beginning which were perhaps a bit rushed, as the cast eased into it the pacing was perfect.
The Moor doesn’t answer any questions, it is not a morality play or even a cut-and-dry murder case. It’s about the shades of grey in our memories and our choices. Bronagh first asks what actions denote the turning points in our lives- and though perhaps that question can only be answered in hindsight, it’s mesmerising to watch her try and bring about a turning point with questionable morals and an even more questionable memories.
Bronagh: Jill McAusland
Graeme: Oliver Britten
Pat: Jonny Magnanti
Director: Blythe Stewart
Designer: Holly Pigott
Lighting Designer: Jamie Platt
Sound Designer: Anna Clock
Producer: Zoe Robinson