A man and a woman meet in a hotel room for reasons that start out seeming simple – he invited her here, didn’t he? But the truth is not that obvious, and over fifty minutes a whole relationship plays out. Sort of. It’s a tough one to pin down, but well worth the attempt.
Moonlight After Midnight is exactly the kind of show that the Assembly Box, on George Square for the duration of the August festivals, was designed for. Set entirely in a hotel room, it feels very immediate, and the bare set works well to highlight the real focus of the show, which is the characters. Martin Dockery’s script encourages you to guess what’s going on and how it fits into the wider story in a way that’s satisfying by itself – a puzzle box of a story, set in a closed space, which seems to encourage audience scrutiny (especially since you’re so physically close to them) and deliver on its promise of a satisfying conclusion.
A large part of the charm is the quick-fire speed of the (often funny) dialogue. Vanessa Quesnelle as the woman is smooth and expressive, and compelling to watch. Martin Dockery is a worthy foil, giving emotional depth to what might easily have amounted to the pair firing off smart lines at one another. Together they’re extremely practised with real chemistry. It’s no surprise to discover that Moonlight was debuted three years ago: it gives off clear signals of being very long-considered. Don’t worry if you get part way through and aren’t sure quite what’s going on; you’re in good hands, and it’ll all become clear in the end. Probably.
The title Moonlight After Midnight seems to have shades of Richard Linklater to it, and I think there’s an apt comparison to be had between this and parts of Linklater’s Before trilogy. Part watching people get to know each other, and part watching old lovers argue, this weird premise results in an unexpected and interesting study of a relationship, and the two people who somehow wandered into it.
Photos courtesy of Will O’Hare.
Midnight After Moonlight runs until 28th August at Assembly George Square Theatre, 15:00.