Martin Dockery’s solo storytelling shows are well known – for good reason – coast to coast on the festival circuit. Now he, along with Vanessa Quesnelle, bring you the world premiere of their next scripted drama (following last year’s The Pit) — Moonlight After Midnight.
Should you see it?
Moonlight After Midnight is a show by real life-couple, Martin Dockery and Vanessa Quesnelle. Dockery is well known on the festival circuit for his solo story-telling shows, somewhat less so for his scripted fiction.
This show sees a man in a hotel room watching a comet fly past on a 10-year trajectory around the sun before it will fly out into the universe. He’s interrupted by a woman who stumbles into his room by accident. Or was it an accident?
The two play out scenarios in what could best be described as a Russian nesting doll of sequences that take you through different times and stages of their relationship (over those ten years) that blend and morph into one another in a way that’s both beautifully clear and mystifying at the same time.
The dialogue, too, is sharp and well constructed, which paired with the strong chemistry that Dockery and Quesnelle share, gives it a perfect pacing and feels perfectly natural and real. Particularly between the nuanced performances being portrayed at the different relationship stages. And even different characters in Quesnelle’s case.
Moonlight After Midnight leaves so much up to you to figure out what is happening in front of you and keeps you doing so up until those closing moments. It is one polished show that kept its opening night audience – and world premiere audience – at such rapt attention that you could have heard a pin drop. Only once the lights dropped and we shifted to start applause did I realize how quiet we had gotten.
Martin told me in an interview that he and Vanessa wanted to do a kind of show you don’t see too often at Fringe Festivals. Well, I want more.
Caitlin’s Follow Up
I wish I had a lot to add to Allan’s review but I don’t. He pretty much nailed it, I agree with everything he’s said. Since I have to write a follow up though, here it is: Before it opened, Quesnelle and Dockery were intensely secretive and tight-lipped about the show. While I want to respect their desire to not give anything away, I think it’s fair to warn audience members that this is, ultimately, a love story, plain and simple. But it’s neither a plain nor simple show, and it’s something you really have to experience yourself to believe. The whole evening felt meta to me and though I didn’t always love it, the writing was great, the performances were great, the staging was spot-on, and I left feeling profoundly affected. Plus, Vanessa Quesnelle’s singing is just fantastic, definitely the best vocal performance I’ve heard at the Fringe Festival yet, hands down and by a landslide. I think she and Dockery have a long career of duet drama in front of them but if not, Quesnelle can certainly make a go of it as a singer. Much to my delight, I still have her renditions of Walking After Midnight, and Crazy (the Patsy Cline tune, not the Gnarls Barkley one… or the Aerosmith one) stuck in my head. I’m with Allan on this one, I want more!
Caitlin and Allan have pretty much said it all; Moonlight After Midnight definitely isn’t your typical play. It’s also no secret that I’m a huge fan of Martin Dockery, and his work and chemistry with Vanessa Quesnelle here is pretty amazing. The writing was excellent and despite character and situational changes, the script always assumes that you’re paying enough attention to keep up. Quesnelle’s voice is like velvet, and Dockery’s energetic performance style lends itself well to both solo and more traditional shows. One thing I did notice is that Martin Dockery always seems to be playing Martin Dockery – although in this case, it works beautifully. Overall, I was sucked into the world of Moonlight After Midnight and I can’t wait to see more from this dynamic duo.
What did you think of Moonlight After Midnight? Did it keep you as entranced through its writing and performances as it did me? Join the discussion and tell me what you thought in the comments below.
For more information on Moonlight After Midnight, including show times and how to buy advance tickets, visit their show page on OttawaFringe.com: http://ottawafringe.com/tickets/moonlight-after-midnight/