Moth to the Flame

Mon 6th – Wed 8th August 2012


Hannah Buckley

at 19:31 on 6th Aug 2012



Annie McCourt aims to move teen actors out of their comfort zone and director Tom Foster adds to this challenge with this play. He gets the young performers to explore their creativity and imagination. Well, if there is one thing the play is to be praised for it is certainly its success at this. With only the use of a few props to act as costume and scene changes, we see the brilliance of the human imagination - both by the performers and by the audience - in creating different characters, atmospheres and settings.

Joe Spence and Katurah Morrish play Dickie and Phoebe, two teenagers who face various difficulties in life. Phoebe, a ‘townie’ and all-round cool girl, is dumped into the countryside with no friends, family, and worst of all - no mobile phone signal. Spence plays the role of a socially inept country boy who lacks experience talking to girls but who has great knowledge of the land and of hunting. Spence plays this awkward boy well and within a few minutes of the play kindled the audience's soft spot for him.

The story chronicles the blossoming of the relationship between these two characters and how they become close in the face of their difficulties. I thought both Morrish and Spence did well to switch between the dialogue between themselves and the monologues of their thoughts. It got us (the audience) to trust the characters and, as a result, to feel for them at certain situations throughout the play which of course added to the drama. Commendations have to be given to Foster for this as well.

The performers were not in the best venue for this kind of play. The highness of the ceiling meant that the words often echoed. Although for most of the show the performers (especially Morrish) projected very loudly and clearly, at certain points the dialogue ran a bit too fast. This with due to the echo-effect which made the dialogue hard to keep up with. However, the fast-pace of these scenes really added to the drama so should not be dropped. Thus, the problem is clarity which is something that can easily be worked upon.

‘Moth to the flame’ is sharp, dramatic and creative. It is well written and well directed. With the brilliant performers that it has it is ultimately an enjoyable play to go and see.


Emma Yandle

at 08:58 on 7th Aug 2012



‘Moth to the Flame’ is a solid production with its two young cast members, 16 year olds Joe Spence and Katurah Morrish, competently holding their own for the hour on stage. This one act play was written for 12-16 year olds and whilst not unenjoyable to an older audience, will certainly not be earth-shattering. However, it was a good version of what it set out to be and was an energetic and appealing production that probably would have been a lot more thought-provoking to a teenage audience.

The style was mildly experimental, with characters live-blogging their conversations in asides or mirroring each other in their lines. These were used to bring out the alien nature of their two existences, but then cleverly dove-tailed through the two falling back on the same words. Director Tom Foster describes it as ‘an ideal play for young actors to play around with’ and they certainly had a lot of fun transforming the the props (a chest and two clothes rails) into everything from a post office to a waterfall. These convincing changes from space to character were a credit to the work of the actors with Spence doing a remarkably accurate impression of a grumpy old woman. But as the show went on these repeated techniques became obvious and a bit staid.

The script swings between moments of subtlety, such as a really clever use in the climax of props onstage from the outset, and moments of ham-handedness. This is probably due to the young target audience. Whilst some plot events were patently unrealistic they brought out good points about the difficulty of being a child without any control. Whilst characters were caricatures they threw up some interesting issues for young people without falling into the easy trap of being condescending.

However, despite good performances from the two actors, for someone well over 16 the play did come across as quite childish. The dark turn towards the end felt out of place with the tone of the production. If you want something that will make you think more about the issues than the play itself then go see ‘Moth to the Flame’, but it’s probably best left to the teenagers.



Clinton Rae; 10th Aug 2012; 14:48:28

2 stars for this play? No way. These were two fantastic performances from two very talented young actors. They drew the audience into their world and played a host of characters between them, each of them distinctively and recognisably. This is a great - and very challenging - play for teenagers to tackle.

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