Moveable Feast’s new touring production, Terror from the Skies, is a skilfully executed solo show by artistic director Matthew Bellwood that uses small-scale storytelling to deliver a beautifully rendered slice of life.
Set across a sleepy morning in suburban Leeds, it focuses on three strands of story that slowly begin to interweave. Two schoolboys on the cusp of adulthood face up to their future and what it means for their friendship; two strangers meet and bond over a local history project that makes them consider their own family bonds; a wealthy housewife wakes up to the fact that her husband is hiding a dark secret – one whose repercussions will impact them all.
Bellwood is an inventive and engaging storyteller. Slipping in and out of the characters’ voices as well as narrating, he uses a tabletop model and figurines (model-maker Sophie Hayman deserves praise) and projected illustrations (Amy Levene’s stylish graphics) to deftly conjure a tale that touches on love, friendship and family, as well as what we owe to one another as people.
Although Bellwood has a sharp eye for dialogue and there is plenty of humour in the production, it’s too slight a story to support its 90 minute running time: too often the plot lacks momentum, and the gap between our realisation of the inevitable denouement and it finally arriving feels like an awfully long time. A more ruthless edit would prevent the occasional sagging and allow the undeniable charm and inventiveness of the piece to shine through.