Any story from the perspective of an animal may immediately turn off viewers. There is an assumption the play will be cliché or poorly plotted, propped up by the gimmick of a talking animal. However, Jacueline Saphra’s character of Luna is anything but. Rather than the child’s stuffed toy of a dog we might have pictured, Luna is three-dimensional, sympathetic and runs her mouth continually. Amy McAllister’s acting has much to be commended for its balance of human- and dog-like traits, as well as a poetic and personality-packed script.
Throughout the play we follow Luna as she remains locked in a room of the family home as commotion ensues outside. It begins with the daughter, Ellie, disappearing, and ends with the collapse of the family home and, quite possibly, the world. The set and lighting has to be commended for the ambiguous but terrifying apocalyptic disaster outside happening outside. All the while Luna tells us the story of her past lives with abusive families and as a stray, as well as tales from her current family. These tales jolt between poinancy and humour, with Luna defending biting Ellie’s boyfriend and throwing up chicken she stole from the family, along with her friendship with a homeless woman and an abused child.
Luna becomes a emblem of the powerlessness we all feel in the face of disaster. She can be seen as symbolic of human destruction of a natural world they promised to protect. Her speech to the audience, “you make the noise, you make the silence”, seems representative of the relationship between the powerful and the powerless. Part of the beauty of the allegory running through the play is that it does not make itself obvious. Even 'the noises’ are left ambiguous, leaving the viewer to wonder what of the many apocalyptic scenarios hanging over the news cycle has been played out.
Despite the restricted form of this play, the final effect feels anything but. It is a poetic drama which grips you from the moment it starts and has a new perspective on old theatrical themes.
The Noises is running at The Old Red Lion Theatre until the 20th of April. Tickets can be purchased here.
Edited by Evangeline Stanford, Digital Editor