The Boy Who Climbed Into The Moon – Review of Theatre Alibi’s adaptation

By Kira Taylor @kirataylor15

Starting with a song in three-part harmony to the bright sound of the accordion, the play just got better and better.

It was based on David Almond’s book, The Boy Who Climbed Into The Moon, and follows Paul, as he leaves the claustrophobic feel of concrete pressing down on his basement flat and embarks on an epic journey to the top of his 29-storey apartment block to touch the sky and reach the moon.

Along the way, he meets some rather … interesting characters, who help him achieve his dream, including a yapping poodle called Clarence, convinced that he will gain speech and flight on his seventh birthday, Molly, who might be called Mable, and Benjamin, an old soldier with soldier’s memories.fest-pic-1

Theatre Alibi did an amazing job of bringing the words to life. It was painted out in front of you; you saw each of the characters, the long trek up the stairwell, the ladder tottering out to reach the moon.

Despite there only being three actors, all of the characters had their own personality, expression and voice. The two children were played by puppets, moved by the actors, who played the adults. Very quickly, you failed to notice that the puppets were not moving of their own accord. They were controlled expertly, from the way they bent their knees going upstairs to the voices they were given.

The set was extremely simplistic, with about eight small parts, but the colours and lighting of it brought Paul’s city to life. The sky behind turned, so that day turned to night and the stars came out. When they climbed into the “car”, they leant and fell around, as it flew around the corners, following Molly’s ridiculous instructions.

Although aimed at children, it was enjoyable for any age. There were some poignant moments, as Paul’s dream helped bring people together, out of loneliness and seclusion. It was a very real plot with normal skyscraper and Paul’s dad being a taxi driver, together with references to the war, but the grounding of it made it amazing.

The idea, too, was lovely, as everyone came together to help Paul reach the moon. It seemed to celebrate childhood. None of the adults told him it was a stupid idea (apart from someone shouting from the street below) and they all supported him in reaching his dream of finding out whether the moon is really a hole in the sky.

It reminded me of my bizarre thoughts as a child – like thinking that the Loch Ness monster was the Totnes monster. It was so much fun to stop thinking about the adult world for a couple of hours and live in Paul’s world of imagination and possibilities, expertly performed.

Amongst the light-hfest-pic-2eartedness, there were some very sweet and sincere moments. Molly’s brother, who hadn’t left his house since the war, struck me deeply. The portrayal of loneliness and grief was evident and created a sense of reality, but also a hurdle that not only had to be overcome but could be overcome. Paul’s brilliant idea of sausages being better than war lightened the whole scene and brought a sense, not so much of childish naivety, but of childish understanding and accepting.

I’ve seen dramatic productions of Hamlet and A Winter’s Tale, where lies and mystery and grief fill the set, but, this was just as good. I would even say better, but my English Lit teacher might read this … It moved me and made me think just as much as a Shakespeare would.

I loved getting lost in it. The performance brought words to life and the storyline took me back to a careless time when dreams were more important than logic.

Other dramas include The Forever Machine.

Uncle Tacko’s Imaginarium and Isabella’s Story Cycle will be giving short shows and stories.

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