B’arts is back with their first in-person production- MOONTOPIA – since the pandemic struck…Here Baba’s Reviewer- MELANIE OSBORNE describes her adventure in helping to solve the Mystery… 

Moontopia has been created and devised by theatre maker and director Andrew Loretto, dramaturg Richard Hurford and a team of creatives at B-arts

The idea for the show came from months of community workshops throughout the pandemic, discussing hopes and dreams and a better way to live together. Something that couldn’t be more welcome in this current climate.

The first stage of the journey to Moontopia started with a very cryptic email asking to bring something of a particular colour and to be prepared for the outside elements.

Without giving too much away the audience, who are split into three groups, are taken on a quest. You can choose your route, one is on the flat, the other a bit longer and the third with more ups and downs…

Production behind the scenes image from Moontopia

We met in a secret location in Stoke where we met our tour guide, Dragon (Jessica Simm). Dragon has a lot going on, they are both very hungry but searching for clues to find the Moon, we follow Dragon into the building to find out more. We get a warm welcome and cosy seat as Dragon performs a moving monologue based on her confusion and feelings of not being fulfilled. Our journey continues into a nightclub and we are greeted into another world. The atmosphere is magical and there is live music from ‘Behind the Moon’ a local group fronted by Hannah Walton.

Hannah has a hunting, angelic voice, which helps create the ambience. The moon is sad, crying in fact. While we are enjoying ourselves and having a good time you can’t help but notice the tears from above. The show is immersive theatre, so the audience is part of the
show, and we are guided around various activities. This is certainly a show that would be perfect for teenagers as there are many thought-provoking questions such as how would you fix the world?

Once at the club we meet the other groups and their guides; the warm hearted but scatty Rabbit (Solaya Sang) and the forthright Jaguar (Martin Gooding). After a bit of mingling an argument breaks out between them, it becomes apparent that the world is in trouble – but how will they help fix it if they can’t work together?

The cast perform beautifully, with sensitivity and demonstrating how a clash of personalities can work through their differences if they try hard enough.

B-Arts Creative Team behind the scenes at Moontopia

Moontopia also features Sharon Richards as the Moon singing a stunning selection of disco songs supported by an eclectic community choir.

This is not a usual experience; it tests your brains and breaks your comfort zones but is also full of belly laughs and delightful surprises. It is a sombre thought that a show that was devised with Covid in mind, is once more relevant to the current political climate.

Moontopia is an evening of madness and mayhem. This is another triumph for B-Arts and not to be missed…Melanie – 5* for Moontopia! 

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