Review: Man on the Moon at Manchester’s Contact Theatre

  • Brand new show written and performed by Keisha Thompson
  • Northern Quota reporter Jess Stoddard reviews the piece

Looking at the dynamics of the father-daughter relationship that Keisha has with her father, Keisha shows us the multiple influences or barriers to them understanding each other.

Through the use of poetry, music, looping sounds and story-telling, Keisha takes us on a journey of her own understanding that sees her confront cultural displacement, religious confusions, political paranoia, misplaced masculinity and more.

With hundreds of books scattered across the floor and stacked up high, we are transferred to Keisha world that is filled with unanswered questions, even questions that can’t be answered by the multiple books that he has gifted her by popping them through her letterbox. Her father is a Black British convert to Islam who leaves her cryptic notes and declares about an apocalypse that is going to happen. But when this fragmented connection starts to stop between them, Keisha feels a gravitational pull, with a need to make sure he’s OK.

As she relives old family stories and fragments of her memory, her father isn’t the only relative who struggles to stay in touch with real-life, as we at times wonder whether Keisha herself is losing her point of view. Her love of numerology and space-walking flights of fancy are the language she speaks to her dad with. Through these means, Keisha can find a connection with her father, without letting his mental illness, social isolation and aggressive past get in the way.

By speaking in music, as well as poetry and metaphors, Keisha tells the story.

The looped sounds are a pre-recorded, and Keisha sings beautifully live overtop – her voice is so pure and clear and filled with emotion.

The story itself is one you don’t hear every day, and there is a worry with one woman shows that you can lose the audience’s interest after a while. This was not the case with Keisha, as she would change how she was telling the story just at the right time to keep us engaged and with her on her journey.

A rare piece of theatre that makes you feel so many emotions at once whilst thinking about how the world puts a stigma on black people. 

I urge you to see this piece of mastery when you can. It’s one not to be missed.