Luna Theatre Company Launch Evening
20th February 2016
Volcano Theatre Art Haus
Author: Leah Collett
As newly appointed Regional Councillor for Wales and Ireland it seemed fitting my first outing be the launch evening for a new company, Luna Theatre. Showcased in the Volcano Theatre Art Haus an art instillation and creative art/ theatre space converted from an Iceland supermarket. The clean lines of the foyer masked a hidden gem with a raw deconstructed theatre space behind its white painted façade.
At first glance at the evening’s program I was delighted to see a selection of well known, unfamiliar and new writings and was not disappointed. Opening with the famous voices text from ‘Under Milk Wood’ the cast displaying excellent company work with clean vocals and pin point timing. Moving us through a selection of comedy and drama a highlight came from an extract of Richard Beans ‘One man, Two Gov’nors’ which had a great audience response and left us wanting more. Guest artist Mike Williams brought the first act to a close with an explorative choreographed piece devised from the John Cage silent score 4.33 entwined with exploring the anatomy of the spine , a well-constructed piece utilising the space as seated in the round, with excellent displays of control, technique and extension.
The beginning of Act two took us to the more traditional territory of Shakespeare but transformed from its original roots with a raw stripped back ‘Romeo & Juliet’ Act 1 Scene 5 and the rave-esque snippet from ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ with the company giving us a new view on the mechanicals. From traditional plights of young love to a more modern annoyance of mobile phones invading the theatre Ally Gibson gave us food for thought with the explosive ‘Pulse’ by Stacy Lane. The vigour and venom was quite apparent by death of phone by foot stamping, a gesture that prompted everyone in attendance to check their own device. Rounding up Act Two an original work ‘Going Under’ created by the company’s Artistic Director Michael Aubin. This piece intricate in its writing prompts a grieving man to question in unfamiliar yet familiar surroundings. Can a man find strength or will he drown? Strong physical performances given by guest artist Absalom Thomas and cast member Ross Leyshon. With elements of well executed stage combat it was refreshing to see work exploring physical limitations and trust between actors. Working with the medium of drowning and added element of water both displayed excellent controls and safe practise on which the director and cast members should be commended. I truly enjoyed these boundaries being pushed and look forward to the further development I have no doubt will that unfold in future performances.
Not only were we entertained in each Act but during each interval. With a variety of music and monologues it was wonderful to be surrounded by creativity. Cath Van Wyk’s monologue from ‘Laughing Wild’ by Christopher Durang attracted particular attention. Displaying her tuna fish frustration she welcomed her audience to listen with generous and thoughtful detail highlighted by great diction.
Bringing the evening to a conclusion Act Three gave us a glimpse into their forthcoming production of ‘Female Transport’ a play by Steve Gooch to be performed in June. From what I have experienced so far I look forward to seeing how the company develop the material and progress as a group. Certainly a company to look out for in the future.