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“A sparky revival”

Cramming all 11 characters in Philip Ridley’s Moonfleece onto the small stage of the Pleasance’s second space is quite a challenge, but it’s one that director Max Harrison rises to with considerable aplomb in his compelling revival for Lidless Theatre.

Kitty Hinchcliffe’s set – a dilapidated East End flat with graffiti scrawled on the walls – feels overcrowded at times, but Harrison keeps Ridley’s dialogue swift and sparky throughout, and to be honest, a little clutter doesn’t matter with a play this good.

Moonfleece, which premiered in 2010, was written for young people, but it’s got something to say to everyone. Less surreal than much of Ridley’s work for adults, it traces the rise of a far right political party – think the BNP or the EDL, St George crosses and shaved heads – and uncovers devastating repercussions within the fascist founding family.

Curtis (a swaggering James Downie) returns to his old home, knuckle-headed henchmen in tow, in order to hold a séance in search of his lost brother’s ghost. Slowly, the flat fills with a cast of unlikely companions – squatters, ex-girlfriends, step-brothers and journalists. Arguments rage. Punches get thrown. Revelations rebound.

It emerges as a smart, timeless riposte to thoughtless nationalism, brimming with the wit and flair of the raconteur, thanks largely to the impressive ensemble. Downie manages the migration from shouty Tommy Robinson-type to hollowed-out emotional husk superbly, Jaz Hutchins is exhilaratingly energetic as a street-performing storyteller, and Rocio Rodriguez-Inniss finds a ballsy humour as his sidekick. A thoroughly absorbing production.

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Production Details
Production nameMoonfleece
VenuePleasance Theatre
StartsMarch 22, 2018
EndsApril 15, 2018
Running time1hr 30mins
AuthorPhilip Ridley
DirectorMax Harrison
Set designerKitty Hinchcliffe
Lighting designerKaty Gerard
Sound designerAnnie May Fletcher
CastAdaline Waby, Ben Woodhall, James Downie, Jaz Hutchins, Joseph Aldous, Josh Horrocks, Joshua Dolphin, Lily Smith, Natalie Johnson, Rocio Rodriguez-Inniss, Seyan Sarvan
Stage managerKaty Gerard
ProducerLidless Theatre, Maya Ellis, Pleasance
VerdictSwift and sparky revival of Philip Ridley’s 2010 play about the rise of the far-right
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Fergus Morgan

Fergus Morgan

Fergus Morgan

Fergus Morgan

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