Dark of the Moon’s black humour is truly captivating

We’ve all become accustomed to supernatural beings as the lead protagonist in shows; from TV to film and even theatre too, characters often come in the form of vampires, werewolves or witches, but it is rarer to see these particular beings as male characters. Within Dark of the Moon, the lead character  is John, the witch-boy, which already sets apart the play from the supernatural norm.

Set in a time when witches were still very much feared and religion ruled above all, Dark of The Moon portrays a love story between John and Barbara Allen, a human. In his quest for love John begs to be made a human and is granted this wish on the condition that he gets his beloved Barbara to marry him and that she remain faithful for one year. But of course, the path of true love never did run smooth and the community of the Smoky Mountains soon become suspicious of John. This plot line is cleverly accompanied by music and song as well as dark humour.

The whole performance was brilliantly acted and characters were convincing and believable. From the accents to their mannerisms, the audience couldn’t question the time setting or the beliefs of the characters. Particular credit is owed to the actors playing John, Barbara and the Pastor, as each mastered their character and with each step, word and look you could see they were immersed in their role.  The rest of the cast were also outstanding, with each playing an incredibly important part in developing the storyline and allowing the audience to get lost in the story.

Nevertheless it is the play’s moments of dark humour that are truly captivating. These draw you into the story to the point where you almost forget quite how twisted this community is in its religious extremism.

It is for this reason that you are left constantly mediating between what you feel is right and wrong, as on one hand you hope John and Barbara can be together but are also convinced into half-believing it’s wrong for a witch to live amongst the community.

Despite the dark and controversial storyline, you never feel depressed or saddened, as the music and folk community spirits uplift and convince you that life in the Smoky Mountains is not all bad. However it’s this that makes you constantly question who it is that is ultimately evil in the play. If a play still has the ability to make audiences debate the characters’ natures long after it the curtain is down, then it has clearly left an impact and deserves recognition for its powerful performance and story.

Emily Willson

Image: stage@leeds Facebook

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