Gameshow, a duo consisting of Matthew Evans and Matt Ryan, want us to think and feel in new ways, through a big mess of odd games and a close friendship in their piece This Is The Moon, That is The Earth.
The stage is covered in lighting that resembles watching men land on the moon, except these men are standing in blue and red paint overalls inside a paddling pool full of plastic balls, with cardboard boxes over their heads: thus, straight away, I knew This Is The Moon, That Is The Earth was going to be weird, I was just not yet sure about wonderful.
The start of the play seems like a work in progress, just with not much progress, as they speak about two astronauts in disjointed metaphors, which sound like they are thrown in at any point they possibly could be. Random movements – such as changing overalls and drinking glasses of water with no clear reason – made me question the devising behind this piece. The first ten minutes of this show bring the gut-wrenching feeling that this is going to be a draining and painful experience of sitting down and respecting two actors failing miserably to entertain, until the meaning and emotional message begin to seep through the cracks.
Finally, all the elements of this extremely fragmented piece start to form something coherent, as they both stand side-by-side comparing their memories. This reminiscing descends into what seems like a friendship therapy session, as they angrily ask each other if they remember the hurt they have caused each other: from direct mistakes, to seeing one another make mistakes in other areas of their life, to even simple things like one being better looking than the other.
Evans and Ryan pull heart strings with their poetic lines about friendship, family, loyalty and fame, and how they can all fall apart and take you down with them. They represent all of these life experiences through symbols I’ve never come across before, such as a pair of astronauts being lost in space, losing all sense of time and communication with each other, until they struggle to keep themselves alive. This ultimately makes the audience wonder whether this resembles anything about the earth.
The complete chaos of this piece shows us the mess we can make with our lives, metaphorically throwing multi-coloured balls in the air and dancing our troubles away in flour – or even choking ourselves with it. Evans and Ryan ask how much mess we are capable of in trying to make others happy or unhappy. This idiosyncratic duo certainly do try to please or displease people themselves by running around in their boxers, and to be honest, no matter how over-the-top and quite often curious their work is, their ideas seem to be the start of something genius.
This Is The Moon, That Is The Earth played at Camden People’s Theatre. It will play at The Yard until 12 April; for tickets and more information, see The Yard website.