Review of The Moon is the Sun of the Night – Created and directed by Laurence Dollander

By Carmel Shortall

Moon SunThe Moon is the Sun of the Night has a dreamlike quality to it as the emphasis shifts and weaves between the projected images of two young girls, the music of Laurence Dollander’s oboe and Sergio Serra’s cello, and the dialogue between the two adults throughout, as they seek to explore “the choices we make and the ones which are made for us,” in creative documentary fashion.

The girls, Adele and Caline Hughes, sing pop songs, talk, generally monkey around and play their own instruments – a violin and a child-sized curved-head flute. They splodge on moisturizer and makeup while trying not to look like clowns, and dispense sage advice such as, “when you’re wrestling, you don’t put makeup on.”

One writes a poem about a Shining Rainbow in coloured pens and they reveal an almost gothic obsession about “ending up on the streets”. shining Rainbow

Interspersed with the childish snippets, are Laurence and Sergio’s discussions about their own introductions to music and playing a musical instrument. These form a counterpoint to the occasionally mundane, occasionally surreal concerns of the two girls. Sometimes the two adults are interrupted by the projections and then they quietly subside, giving way. At other times they segue into each other – the sweeter cello  lifting and harmonising with the scratchy child’s violin before fading again.

Parental influence is discussed. Laurence’s mother decided her daughter must learn to play an instrument and took her to the Conservatoire to learn the flute but when the young Laurence heard an oboe for the first time, she insisted on swapping. Despite a break for a few years, when she developed an interest in boys, she resumed at university. For his part, Sergio would have preferred to play football but now, here they are, playing together, in the Camden People’s Theatre while, behind them Adele and Caline perhaps embark on their own musical careers – or not, as the case may be – what decisions will be made by and for them?

The projections grow silent and the girls clap, snap their fingers, wave their arms and dance in dumb show. The music seems to speak for them, or interpret them: it is a moving experience.

Overall, The Moon is the Sun of the Night, creates  a sensory collage, impressionistic while being intellectually, emotionally and aesthetically engaging. The music is exquisite, the oboe and cello complementing each other perfectly. The children are captivating, funny and precocious – but in a good way.

The Moon is the Sun of the Night has finished its Camden Fringe run at The Camden  People’s Theatre now but further information can be obtained from Laurence Dollander’s website or Twitter account, @LaurenceDoll

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