THEATRE / Stories from the National Enquirer - Man in the Moon

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The Independent Culture
It's a funny old world that Jeanne Murray- Walker's new play inhabits; small-town America at its smallest. Remurs has a cafe (onstage), a bakery (off), a hospital, a main street, and a collection of oddball inhabitants that makes the cast of Twin Peaks look like characters from Crossroads. Herein lives the beauty queen with the hideous daughter; the mad woman with her angelic house-guests; the old dear with dissolving skin. Theirs are stories screaming out for sensationalised headlines, as Leonard, returning to his home town to dish the dirt in the name of tabloid journalism, discovers. Luckily, he falls in love instead.

This, the first show in the 'Woman in the Moon' season, nicely captures a sense that lots of things are happening all at the same time: a stream of characters moseys in and out of the cafe, arguing, showing off, planning and gradually building a sense of community. There are loose ends - you never do find out what happened to Leonard's mother - and it's at its weakest when weirdness plunges into whimsy (those love scenes - gulp). But, dodgy American accents notwithstanding, the acting is lively and energetic. Richard Crawford is particularly striking as LeRoy, the rockstar with the gift of the gab, and Owen Scott, as Leonard the reporter, manages an increasing love for humanity with a dry panache.

In rep until 20 Sept (booking: 071-351 2876)