A bittersweet coming-of-age story of Robyn (Aoife Kissane), the daughter of a heartbroken painter, and Pluto (Matias Nuñez), her kind neighbour. Calling out over the balcony or secretly in the garage, Pluto and Robyn philosophise about love, mechanics, and what to do after their senior year of high school is over.
Robyn’s life is told as a nonlinear narrative featuring snippets of family life in the cluttered apartment she shares with her father. A recent separation has left the painter in despair, while Robyn attempts to stay optimistic about their future. Although his love might be unrequited, the kind ear and support offered by never-been-kissed Pluto seems to be exactly what Robyn needs to get through this troubling time.
A self-devised piece, the multifaceted duo independently directed, designed, produced, and performed the show. Kissane had a lovely hold on the audience during her forlorn balcony scenes, excelled in keeping up with the back-and-forth dialogues with Pluto. Matias did a wonderful job creating sparks during starry-eyed scenes of the pair, cleverly reinforcing the unrequited will-they-won’t-they romances typical of teen movies. However, the double-casting of Matias as both the father and as Pluto made those sparks a tad unwelcome. Considering the only change in character was shown through whether his hair was tied up or not, the cute teen scenes were a bit creepy, and the intimate father-daughter scenes became even more so.
The Paint Factory was a great location for The Girl on The Moon. Inside one of the warehouses, a double-storey section of platforms and safety railings likely used once for manufacturing, cleverly appropriated into the inner-city industrial setting of the piece. The duo cleverly using a side-section of the second-level railings as a Juliet-style balcony space, and the cavernous underneath area by the lockers as the garage. In this ‘garage’ was a very suave feature prop – a classy old-school convertible. The classic car symbolically demonstrated Robyn’s connection to her father, while her progress of fixing up the vehicle became an allegory for processing her emotions.
The sound design featured simple but sweet piano melodies that beautifully transformed the many cute scenes into a nostalgic display of young romance. The mood was reminiscent of classic rom-coms, guiding the audience elegantly to the bittersweet ending. That being said, the volume of the music was often overwhelming, and due to the openness of the space, the actors struggled to compete. Similarly, the lighting design choices were generally complimentary to the story, however the sickly green lighting for the wistful ‘science project’ monologues about heartbeats and young love was a peculiar choice. Green = science, I guess.
The show was supported primarily by other students and friends of the duo, both as the crew and in the audience. In the crew, friends of the pair operated the lighting and sound systems, performed ushering duties, and assisted with directing and stage management. Although understandable, slip-ups in sound and lighting did interrupt a few poignant scenes.
Nevertheless, the ending applause was boisterous with a standing ovation from the young audience. It was great to see a wonderful crowd of supportive peers.
P.S. Minimal signage or outside lighting made the show hard to find, but if you follow the road and stop before it bends, there’s a pathway in the garden on the right that leads to the door. The bathroom is also hard to find so try to go before heading to the venue. To get to the bathrooms, ask a guide who will lead you to a non-descript door where you wait for the guide to run back around and open it from the inside.
Verdict: Support these emerging creatives in this step into independent production and embark on a dreamy journey of nostalgic reflection featuring young love and how we move on from tragedy.
When: 5 May 2022 – 8 May 2022
Where: The Paint Factory – 115 Hyde Rd, Yeronga, Brisbane QLD
Cost: $26 per person
The reviewer attended the Thursday 5th May 2022 performance.