Monday, April 30, 2012

Moon on a Rainbow Shawl

It was wonderful to see this play on Saturday night.  For one thing, I had known the text and its reputation for years, but never actually caught a performance, in spite of chances at the Almeida and Stratford East.  Now it's got a production at the National, and I finally got to see that it's every bit as good as I suspected.  And then some.  The play was written in 1958, only two years after Look Back in Anger - but its portrayal of life in the desperate poverty of Trinidad certainly shows up British plays from the time for the bourgeois whinges they were.  Errol John's characters are struggling to hold their lives together - and have their own idiosyncratic ways of doing so, from the never-ending graft of Sophia, to the opportunistic thieving of Charlie and Mavis selling her body to any passing American sailor.  You can understand why Ephraim wants to leave - and you so want him not to, because he'll only leave more havoc in his wake.

The production is fabulous - tons of local detail, reminding us of Mauritius (Nisha recognised exactly the cookery technique being used by Sophia).  The acting is wonderful - with Martina Laird incredible as the tough and witty Sophia.  And it was great to see my old friend Jude Akuwudike as Charley - here they both are in the picture.  Jude and I acted together in our student days - which seem rather a long time ago now!

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