Edinburgh Fringe 2011
Howling Moon’ (written by Heather Wilmot) tells a powerful and symbolic tale of moving on and letting go, of losing and finding oneself.
Howling Moon’ (written by Heather Wilmot) explores in visual and physical theatre form, the mindscaoe of someone coming to terms with a personal history of M.E and her attempts to banish the past into oblivion. Instead she simply imprisons it, allowing demons to develop and come back to haunt her. Infused with symbolism drawn from fairy tale worlds, the piece has a surreal backdrop and a very real foreground which blend to varying degrees of success over the hour or so.
A crying forest is evoked through dry ice and an impressively created leafy backdrop.The company employ physical theatre and create a dark, gothic feel. Their use of sound offstage is effective, but vocal delivery runs a bit behind their physical theatre skills in places..
Howling Moon is based on an attempt, done many times to recast a Red Riding Hood-esque joutney through the sub-conscious.. They successfully invoke a dark forest and the lighting is beautiful at times, combined with evocative music. This is a 22 year old woman, walking Alice-like through a dream, or perhaps a mindstate. She meets a chatty fox along the way, but who is he really? Can he be trusted?. Some of the vocal work lacks clarity and is too hurried in this production. The wolfish monster is visually and vocally menacing and comes across as a devil, a ghoul. There are hints of Neil Gaiman in the design.
There’s a lot of inventive physical theatre brewing here . Howling Moon is often very interesting but they need to sharpen up on the dialogue. The modern dialogue between the "not a little girl" and the fox, creates a Gilliam-esque feel as it contrasts with the almost gothic Victorian horror feel of the wolf-monster and the forest. It also reminds me much of The Mirrormask.
Dance/ballet interludes are a highlight, and they weave well into the atmospheric music. Here the dream/mind-scape is most successfully created.
How to get out of the forest, when the tracks can’t be trusted, when friends can’t be trusted? Margaret Penelope Fielding is trapped in her mind, perhaps not in a dream.Interesting ideas, invenively explored.
There’s a story at the heart of this show, an unfolding mystery. What has happened in the forest ? Why is Maggie here? The Wolf is her shadow self, allowed in by what she has become in life. Here we have a take for much older children and adults.
This is a valuable story, rich in ideas, full of meaning and emotion, delivered 110% by a committed cast. As theatre it is weighed down by too much content, not all of its important purpose thus comes across. It is in sore need of dramaturgy. Some of the separate ingredients – the monster, the music, the intensity, the movement pieces are of a very hugh standard and are truly affecting, but it doesn’t quite blend together as a fully accessible narrative. There’s something epic and special in the making here but it isn’t there yet. Definitely worth seeing.