Love is in the air on the Scotiabank Stage at Neptune Theatre. If you are looking for a salty night out with your special someone than the plays the thing. Salt Water Moon by David French has wooed audiences around the world and has anchored itself here in Halifax for a short time only. With tickets going fast this stellar production is not to be missed.
Setting the Stage
Salt Water Moon is a well-known production which is no stranger to the Neptune stage, having been performed there once upon a time back in the 1980’s. It was written by a brilliant Newfoundland playwright who fathered many works before passing in 2010.
The play itself is set in 1926 tucked away in French’s home of Coley’s Point, NL. It is driven by it’s saucy yet poetic dialogue. It is not an easy task to pull off a one-act production lasting 85 minutes. Especially when the entire cast of two is running the show. The actors, Kelin Boyd and Nathan Simmons fiercely bit into their roles and delivered a performance worth writing about. It did not feel like I sat for almost an hour and a half. In fact, I felt like I was intruding upon a private, lovelorn conversation. At times it became a confrontation with peaks and valleys of emotions being thrown from one side of the stage to the next. I was deeply pulled in.
When a Grin Becomes a Smile
Director, Martha Irving, is no stranger to the stage but confessed to only having seen this production once before. With that, she let go of having any preconceived notions of how this play should be done. In fact, I applaud her decision to cast this show “colour-blind.” As a Newfoundlander myself I thought that putting Nathan Simmons in the role of Jacob was quite simply brilliant. When Jacob spoke of feeling oppressed by the actions of the captain that bullied his father it had even more depth than I think David French had intended; a reminder that prejudice runs deep in the waters surrounding us.
But there were many reasons why Martha Irving cast Nathan in this role, no doubt. His execution of the Newfoundland dialect was almost flawless. And believe me, I have a hard ear when it comes to my own twisted tongue. There was only once when I thought to myself, he missed that phrase by a hair. I forgave him quickly as his charm and command of the stage won me over. When he spoke the line, “When a grin becomes a smile,” I could not help but smile myself.
I kept thinking, “take him back already, Mary.”
Mary, Mary Quite Contrary
Kelin Boyd’s portrayal of Mary Snow was sweet with a whole lot of stubborn sensibility. I did crave a little more from her performance though. Her command of the dialect was impeccable but I felt she could have used what French has given her a little more to her advantage. I wanted to feel the intensity of their love story in the pit of my stomach. It almost got there which is why I think if I were to go see it again I might just get it. It was still early days of the run when I saw it and Kalin was so close. But with that being said, I did enjoy watching both of them toy with each other’s emotions and would indeed go see it again. I believed in their story and recommend taking in this production for your own glimpse of young love alongside the rocky shores of Newfoundland.
One Last Bow
It takes many hands to pull off a production such as Salt Water Moon. Although I do not have any lovely pictures of the set I would like to take my hat off to the production team that put everything together. The simple backdrop of the set, lights, and sound was the perfect accompaniment to the top-notch performances. It felt a little magical even. I will leave that little tidbit for you to discover in case you are intrigued enough to check it out for yourself. I really think you should.
This space is for you too. Tell me about an upcoming Neptune production you would love to see or have seen. And remember, Salt Water Moon is only playing until February 18th so best get your tickets now and tell me what you think later.