Monday, 29 June 2015

'Luna Gale' Hampstead Theatre ***

The social services, and the work that practitioners within this field have a good deal of challenges to face on a regular basis, predominantly if the circumstances involves separating a baby away from its mother and father. The Hampstead Theatre’s production of Rebecca Gilman’s latest offering, ‘Luna Gale’ permits us to observe the difficulties of support services and the relationships that they have with their clients in an all rounded mode, likewise the delineations were pleasantly conveyed.

‘Luna Gale’ is set in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, this is nicknamed, ‘The City of Five Seasons’ where we are welcomed with social worker, Caroline Cox who has been in the job for twenty five years does no look that she has much for her own self. While Caroline assumes that each case she is assigned is the exact same, but her boss, Cliff (Ed Hughes) has a unique incident for her to disentangle, which is to sort out a scenario of two young parents, Peter and Karlie who are incessant drug addicts and whether they reserve the right to keep their baby daughter, Luna.  Regrettably, the likelihood of them being able to keep Luna appears awfully implausible, and it is probable that Luna may have to be cared for by Luna’s grandmother, Cindy (Caroline Faber) as it is a healthier environment. On the other hand, Karlie is worried about this as she ran away from this atmosphere as Cindy is a devout Christian and with her collaboration with Pastor Jay (Corey Johnson), Karlie is anxious because of this.  On the contrary to this, Caroline has a meeting in a café with someone associated with the case, Lourdes (Abigail Rose) there could be something underlying that Caroline is unaware of. Throughout the show, Caroline becomes unprofessional and devises a story that Karlie’s ex step father molested her as a child and that her mother, Cindy did nothing to prevent this from stopping, in which Karlie agrees for this to be brought into the court case against her mother.  At the finale, as the court’s judge declares that Peter and Karlie are unfit to be trusted with the responsibility of looking after a child, it is decided that Peter’s father will be the legal guardian to look after Luna. This means that Caroline will have to suffer the consequences of failing to win the case.  Gilman’s narrative is affable as she has shaped a story about two crack-headed young parents who are frantic to keep their daughter and the struggles of social worker’s tasks to regain a moral high ground in terms of their professionalism.

One found the performances by the company of, ‘Luna Gale’ to be immeasurably appealing through virtuous intonations, articulations and good movements. Sharon Small is amiable as social worker, Caroline; for example how this case is really testing her proficiency and her tiredness does show quite rigorously which is why she wants early retirement and her creation of the child molesting leads to this happening.  Rachel Redford is decent as Luna’s druggie mother, Karlie; such as when she is in the waiting room at the courthouse and how her positive outlook that she will be able to keep her daughter shows her youthful nature and when her positivity disappears as she loses her right to be Luna’s guardian she crumbles.  Alex Arnold is worthy as Luna’s father, Peter; in particular when he is cuddling his daughter with a lullaby, it is a vastly moving moment as he realises he should not have got himself into drugs and that he is emotional that his father is the legal guardian and not himself.

Michael Attenborough’s direction is exceptional here as there is a real sense of sensitive capability and that is clearly noticeable and the funny moments work spectacularly well too, moreover the work in depicting this situation does seem natural.  Lucy Osborne’s design is awe-inspiring as the entire set is surrounded with filing cabinets with files inside of them and the scenes on the revolving proscenium arch was terrific, plus the scenic art and construction by Visual Scene is sublime. Overall, the experience of, ‘Luna Gale’ was a great performance and well-acted.  

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