Man on the Moon review at Contact, Manchester – ‘powerful poetic imagery’
Keisha Thompson’s solo show Man on the Moon is a poetic and eloquent piece of storytelling that examines strained father-daughter relationships and people’s need for love.
Poet and performer Thompson takes the audience on a journey as she shares childhood memories, difficult phone calls and an expedition to the moon to uncover the reason for her dad’s five month disappearance.
Amusing anecdotes, about the peculiar bus ride she took to his house and the problematic security guards who often follow people of colour around stores, are juxtaposed with Thompson’s harrowing fears that her father may be dead, recollections of his domestically violent behaviour, and her longing for his love. All of this is connected by the books her father randomly posted through her letterbox and the numerology charts she crafted every time he changed his name, something he did frequently.
Jim Bond’s book-filled set is visually enticing, with stacks of books representing different locations and props. Subtly but effectively they support Thomson’s distinctly pictorial storytelling, their shapes and shadows complimenting the moods created by the looped music in the lead up to the lunar escape.
Creative and transformative lighting design by director Benji Reid and Andrew Crofts illuminate Keisha’s shadow against a moon, while she sits on an elevated sofa. The show feels like being told an exciting story as a child, one with an Afrofuturistic twist.