You don’t have to know anything about Thomas Moore or the history of Ireland to be both dazzled and charmed by Richard Hanna’s one man “Madcap Musical Monopolylogue” Melody Moore, which plays at the North Street Church as part of the Atlantic Fringe Festival. Don’t worry, you don’t have to know what a monopolylogue is to enjoy it either!
I saw the World Premiere of the performance of this brand new show, which hails from Ottawa, and it made me want to go home and research Moore’s work, Irish nationalism and the history of its struggle for sovereignty from England and how patriots of this time could be tried as treasonous rebels. Hanna brings Moore and a slew of other vivid (and often famous) characters to life with fantastic specificity of physicality, movement and vocal timbre and the incredible energy of a steam engine.
At its heart Melody Moore is the story of how one precocious and small little dandy traded erotic versifying and a life of dalliance and womanizing to become (albeit craftily) Ireland’s national voice at a time when it was bursting apart at the seams and people were killed for daring to dream of independence. This sense of danger and the massively high stakes are juxtaposed so fascinatingly with the constant allusions to the life of opulence and idleness that surrounded Moore and how cunning and manipulative he had to be in order to be able to survive and flourish. What appear to be his innate contradictions (an Irish Patriot hobnobbing with the English Prince Regent?) have made Moore a controversial icon for Ireland and they make Hanna’s exploration of Moore’s motivations and choices extremely compelling.
One of the loveliest aspects of this show is Hanna’s harp playing and his renditions of eleven of Moore’s most well known Irish melodies, which he sings with a gorgeous and mellifluous voice. The musical element of the show is so strong the fact that he is such an engaging and competent actor and the story and dialogue is so well written and interesting seems like infinite icing on a particularly delicious cupcake.
Director David Brown manages to convey time lapses, changes in location and switches in character with minimal movement and minimal tech, which is quite impressive. For a one person show that is quite stationary, with a lot of sitting and then standing and then sitting, Brown keeps the movement and pacing so seamless that the mind never wanders from what Hanna is saying and keeps his characterizations of the people in the world he creates and its music as the central focus at all times.
There is a line in the show where Moore is described as “the epitome of all that is delightful” and I can’t help but think there is much of that in this production as well.
Melody Moore plays at the North Street Church (5657 North Street) at the following times:
Sunday September 2nd at 2:00pm
Monday September 3rd at 2:15pm and 8:30pm
Tuesday September 4th at 6:30pm
Wednesday September 5th at 9:30pm
Saturday September 8th at 7:45pm
Sunday September 9th at 12:00pm
It is $10.00, to book tickets please visit this website or call (902) 999-7469 or visit the Box Office at the Seaport Farmers’ Market at Pavilion 20 on Marginal Road. Tickets are also available at the venue ONE hour before the show.