Review: Under Three Moons - York Theatre Royal

Box of Tricks production of Under Three Moons.
Box of Tricks production of Under Three Moons.
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The technique of dipping into characters’ lives over a long time period has been used to great effect on screen.

Richard Linklater devoted 12 years to filming his coming of age tale Boyhood and his earlier trilogy, bookended by Before Sunrise and Before Midnight, was a masterclass in chronicling what it means to get older.

That same technique is used here by playwright Daniel Kanaber and while Box of Tricks director Adam Quayle may not have been handed a big screen budget, it matters not – a pair of glasses, an old dressing gown and those three moons of the title are enough to show the unstoppable passage of time.

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We first meet Michael (Kyle Rowe) and Paul (Darren Kuppan) as teenagers on a school camping trip. Michael is popular with his classmates, less so with his teachers and Paul, while bright, is also bullied. Together, their biggest dilemma is whether to speak to the French girls who have pitched their tent nearby.

Over the course of the next hour or so, we see them again as 20-somethings struggling with the responsibilities of adulthood and finally approaching midlife when both have cause to regret the things they did or didn’t do.

Both Rowe and Kuppan subtly capture each new phase and are as convincing as 16-year-old boys as they are as they are world-weary adults.

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There are, though, a few too many cliches heaped into the mix. Surely not every Silicon Valley billionaire lives on a diet of yoga and bottled water do they? And there is something just a little two neat about Michael and Paul’s character arcs to be entirely believable.

However, what Under Three Moons does remind us is that whatever life throws at us, from personal tragedy to financial success, underneath most of us are still the teenager we always were. We just learn to hide it better.