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The Moon's the Madonna

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THE MOON'S THE MADONNA, Circle Theatre. First created and performed in 1989 by students at the Thomas Sumpter School in Scunthorpe, England, The Moon's the Madonna is very much the sort of well-meaning but uneven play you'd expect from a committee of adolescents working under the tutelage of a drama teacher, in this case Richard Cameron.

Parts of the story, about a poor family ripped apart by an unfeeling bureaucracy, are not bad. The five siblings are drawn with care and an eye toward making each member of the household unique. But overall the piece is ragged, with painfully banal dialogue and a plot that jerks along from one undramatic moment to the next. Again and again interesting things occur offstage while stage time is devoted to a rather dry recitation of what just happened, how everyone feels about it, and what everyone plans to do.

The fact that the original production was well received at the 1989 National Student Drama Festival in Scarborough may say more about the competition or about the fervor of its young author-performers than it does about the play. Even in the hands of a pretty good non-Equity cast, led by off-Loop stalwart Sandy Borglum, this show is strictly a bore. It doesn't help that director Greg Kolack has chosen to use the same flat-footed, no-frills approach that sank his production of Rebecca Gilman's The Crime of the Century last season.

--Jack Helbig

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