Left - Martin Sharpe and Dion Mills. Cover - Ella Caldwell and Erin Dewar. Photos - Jodie Hutchinson.
Alex Menglet’s production of David Greig’s Yellow Moon – The Ballad of Leila and Lee is a character driven drama which provides the perfect platform to present the skill of Red Stitch and its actors.
Greig’s writing is engaging in its sharply subtle detail. Each character is beautifully painted within their stereotype, yet their idiosyncrasies are revealed. ‘Stag’ Lee (Martin Sharpe) is a pimping teenage thug, fragile and clumsy in his bravado. ‘Silent’ Leila (Erin Dewar) is a self-loathing Muslim, obsessed with reading celebrity magazines. The characters speak directly to the audience; narrating their own story. They tell us what they're thinking, tell us what they want to do, who they want to be, revealing who they are.
Lee accidentally kills his mother’s boyfriend and runs off with Leila to Scotland in search of his father. The narrative is interesting, but it is the characters and their relationships that engage, educate, and excite.
Sharpe and Dewar both possess a lovely ease in delivery of text. Their portrayals were at once delicate, intense, and entertaining. The vaudeville interlude, ‘Everything’s Alright’, was executed beautifully, revealing the characters’ gentle vulnerability and Sharpe’s and Dewar’s skill as performers.
Dion Mills as Narrator/Billy/Frank has a commanding presence on stage, striking a fine balance between intensity and a knowing sense of theatrical play. Ella Caldwell as Holly, the starlet, created a poignant picture of the emptiness of celebrity.
Menglet’s direction and production struck the perfect balance between theatricality and truth. The red velveteen curtains framed the story and its characters, playing with the idea of the play and providing some ironic relief for the actor’s and their audience.
Red Stitch is indeed an actor’s theatre.
Red Stitch presents
by David Greig
Director Alex Menglet
Venue: Red Stitch Actors Theatre | rear 2 Chapel St, St Kilda East (opp Astor)
Dates/Times: Fri Feb 6 – Sat March 7. Wed – Sat 8pm, Sun 6.30pm.
Bookings: www.redstitch.net (discounted tix) or on 03 9533 8083 $34/24/20