1 December 2009

The Making of Moo (spoilers)

I have often said that everything at I've seen at the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond is at least good and some of it is exceptional.

The Making of Moo is one of the exceptional ones.

Well-meaning colonials are dismayed to learn that in build a new dam to provide power and irrigation they have also killed the local river god. A plan is quickly hatched to create a new god for the locals, called Moo.

The first half of the play shows the three conspirators as they form and enact this plan. Their designs for Moo include a moral code, a history and some stirring songs.

Less involved, and much less interested in being involved, is their native man servant who is in line to be the first figurehead of the new church.

But the plans proceed apace and the first half ends with the colonials putting the finish touches to Moo.

The second half resumes the story two years later when the church of Moo has taken hold, but not as we had expected.

The colonials have stayed and are powerful figures in the church that is intolerant and violent. Vespers is the time when visitors are killed.

The play is an unflattering critique of religion as this extract from the sayings of Moo hints. (I took this photo when going back in for the second half.)

But while the theme of the play is dark and deep it is sugared with a large coating of humour and it is a really funny play throughout.

The combination of the story, theme, humour, acting and staging make this one of the most rewarding things that I have seen at the Orange Tree and I was delighted to be able to tell the director, Sam Walters, this to his face the following evening at a dinner.

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