Review: Under Three Moons at Unity Theatre ***1/2
There’s more unsaid than said in Daniel Kanaber’s thoughtful new play which muses on friendship, mental health and what it means to be male.
We meet Paul (Darren Kuppan) and Michael (Kyle Rowe) on three fleeting and fragmented nights across three decades, watching as their friendship and fortunes wax and wane, coloured by circumstances we can only hazard at.
Thrown together on a school camping trip to France, it appears an unprepossessing start for tightly wound bullying victim Paul and laid-back laddish Michael.
But something clicks between them – albeit something that’s rarely articulated in a relationship where feelings are internalised and rough and tumble, fights and headlocks act instead as proxies for affection and concern.
From school, we fast forward to a tin shack on a Pembrokeshire beach where the pair of 20-somethings reconnect on an ill-fated surfing trip, and finally we find ourselves reconvening, this time in the claustrophobic confines of a spare room where they attempt – oh so awkwardly - to bridge the chasm that has opened up over the preceding decade and find the common ground they might just still share.
Michael (Kyle Rowe) and Paul (Darren Kuppan) in Under Three Moons. Photos by Alex Mead Decoy Media
The action takes place almost exclusively within the tight diameter of a bare wooden circle, emphasising the intense emotions at play, and illuminated by the glow of the 'three moons' of the title.
Unseen characters - classmates, parents and partners - inhabit the shadowy world outside their tight-knit circle which is also a place where baggage that has been unpacked and repacked collects in corners.
Box of Tricks director Adam Quayle is often happy to let silence do the talking, although as a result it feels at times as though the narrative feels might run out of steam.
Meanwhile Kuppan and Rowe produce sensitive performances in a show that offers men the chance to consider their own friendships and women a rare insight in to a world that’s often hidden from them.