Contact Theatre, Manchester; Thursday 23rd November 2017
The eccentricity of the moon’s oval path as it orbits the Earth is much greater than the eccentricity of the Earth’s orbit around the sun. Also, nearly four centuries before the crew of Apollo 15 actually conducted the experiment on the moon, Galileo predicted that, without air resistance, a hammer and a feather would both fall under gravity at the same rate.
Keisha Thompson is full of amazing little facts. Most of her knowledge comes from reading books: lots and lots of books about lots of different things. And it turns out that those books have been provided to her by her estranged father; books seem to have become the only (hands-off) medium through which Keisha’s father chooses to communicate with her.
Based on her own, highly unusual father-daughter interactions, Man on the Moon examines the intriguing dynamics of a relationship where both parent and child seem to be trying to reach out to each other – yet both end up struggling to get a firm grip on anything that can unite them.
The action takes place in south Manchester as Keisha describes the intricate details of her bus journey from Alexandra Park to Longsight, where her dad now lives. It’s Monday 21st December 2015 and Keisha is very worried – she hasn’t heard from her dad in five months. Hence the details of an otherwise mundane bus journey actually become the personal and emotional details of all the fears and memories that are preying on her mind.
Man on the Moon is an engaging mix of story-telling and observational stand-up comedy, punctuated with several musical interludes as Keisha breaks into song. The deeply personal revelations become much more than a journey into the machinery of father-daughter relations, this is a performance that also gives a fascinating insight into the complications of racial- and religious-identity politics.
Man on the Moon is the sharing of a very personal story on a very public stage, as such it feels like much more than just entertainment, it comes across as a warm and cosy evening with an old friend who just needs to be told that everything will be just fine.