We take a look at what critics have been saying about the Finborough Theatre’s revival of David French’s play.

(c)Lucy Hayes

Broadway World: *** “The show gives a glimpse of the Newfoundland climate after the Great War, but it’s tempered by a weak finale. It’s easy to understand and rationalise the play’s original reception, but, four decades later and in a different country with different politics, its noise is rather muffled.”

Theatre Vibe: “The performances are outstanding: Bryony Miller as Mary prim and hurt, now protecting herself from further emotional damage and as closed as a clam; and Joseph Potter as Jacob, swaggering and arrogant at times but always interesting to watch.”

Time Out: ** “French’s language is poetic and picaresque, and I think there’s probably a romance to this remote point in Canada’s history and geography that’s liable to be lost on a UK audience. ‘Salt-Water Moon’ is also part of a series of plays that feature the couple when they’re older, which presumably better contextualises their relationship. And there are nice things about the production. Mim Houghton’s bulb-based set is simple but beautifully effective. To these confused ears, Potter and Miller nail the rather esoteric Newfie accent. And while the abrasive vigour of their performances doesn’t exactly render Jacob and Mary loveable, it is at least energetic and pacy.”

All That Dazzles: **** “No bells and whistles are required here – Salt-Water Moon is a gorgeous show thanks to its stunning portrayal from its two talented cast members beautifully bringing David French’s always interesting writing to life. Simple and understated, the end result is a beautifully romantic piece of theatre that effortlessly manages to provide escapism and demonstrate love on that stage, not just between the pair but what the power of theatre can do.”

London Theatre1: **** “An interesting piece of theatre that explores – quite pertinently at a time of economic uncertainty – what lengths people are prepared to go to out of financial necessity, and whether the power of love can override pragmatism. Yes, it’s a love story at the theatre, so the answer is pretty obvious in the end, but this intriguing journey is worth it. A thoughtful and charming production.”

The Reviews Hub: *** “Its social and historical observations are interesting, but, essentially, Salt-Water Moon is a fluffy romcom, albeit one that is a bit light on the comedy. Even though its journey and its destination throw up few surprises, the play still leaves much to enjoy along the way.”

Spy in the Stalls: **** “Although the play ends with an unresolved outcome, we are left in little doubt as to the answer to the ‘will-they-won’t-they’ question. Nevertheless, we do leave the theatre wanting to know what happens next. This makes sense, as “Salt-Water Moon” is the third play in a quartet that features the two protagonists. Yet it has the fullness of a stand-alone piece of writing that explores the nature of love, betrayal, patriotism, loss, forgiveness and loyalty. It revisits a bygone age and harks back to a former and sometimes forgotten spirit of theatre; quietly asserting its relevance. A slow burner, but one that burns bright.”

2nd From the Bottom: “I’m not sure that Salt-Water Moon enthralled me enough to make me want to seek out the other four parts of French’s play cycle. In any case, it is clear that piece stands on its own two feet without needing to do so. I think we’ve all moved on since the early 80s and if it’s taken that long for the play to reach these shores, there is probably a good reason for that. However, it’s an engagingly intimate production and the two performers have no place to hide – nor do they need to. If you want to see a couple of young actors  bringing truth and sincerity to a well structured piece of dialogue and elevate it towards the stars which provide a backdrop to this piece, then head for the Finborough and rejoice in the consistency of its programming and delivery.”

The Stage: **** “Strong performances by Joseph Potter and Bryony Miller carry this UK premiere of Canadian playwright David French’s dreamlike drama, directed by Peter Kavanagh.”

Salt-Water Moon continues to play at the Finborough Theatre until the 28th January.


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