Moon Carpet at The Maltings****

First published in What's On

You rarely get to see a play you can relate to personally. Like director Katie Smith, I have recently been a secondary school student, living within the timeframe of her latest production. With equal hindsight, I was in a good position to critique how accurately she portrayed that complex group of humans we both fall into: teenagers.

Moon Carpet is an observation of six friends from Year 7 to 13, revolving around how their personalities change and relationships develop across time. All scenes are set within their hideout and the title mimics the password they shout upon entering.

All six actors showed professionalism beyond their years. Facing an audience of friends and classmates – giggling every time they heard something rude or amusing – they remained in character completely, never reacting once to the reception. As the play progressed and emotions ascended, they were able to display a fine quality of acting to complement such maturity. Worthy performances by all.

The script was spot on most of the time in portraying teenage attitudes; for entertainment purposes, it can be excused for veering into exceptional circumstances nearer the end. Remaining in the same location throughout created a meaningful connection between personas and setting, whereas maintaining the same characters in every scene added a personal touch to the viewing. You felt by the end that you knew each one personally; the trademark of a well-written play.

I was hoping to be able to praise this as a good production for a 16 year-old, but in hindsight I’d rather not. To do so would discredit it; this is a good production regardless of age, experience or prestige. The fact that Miss Smith is still at school only makes it all the more impressive.

Aidan Phillips

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