A big cat that never quite shines

Moon Tiger

Malvern Theatres

**

ONE of the main problems with taking a hugely popular novel and adapting it to stage is how you transform it for a different type of media.

This version of Penelope Lively's novel unfortunately hasn't been adapted well enough for theatre and what we end up with, as an audience, is being talked at endlessly with far too little action.

It journeys through the life of Claudia, a headstrong intellectual woman whose "history of the world" includes reporting on World War Two in Egypt, not being the best mother, having a dubiously close relationship with her brother and ultimately, a cancer patient.

The narrative is recounted to us but not dramatised, which means we don't get to really know or understand the various characters that come in and out of our heroine's life.

Some storylines, like that of a Hungarian student Lazlo for example, are too brief and hang in the air under-developed without any real meaning.

It also makes it hard to warm to Claudia or care about what happens to her during this extremely slow-moving two hour performance.

It's a shame because there's a strong cast. Jane Asher is suitably sturdy in the lead role and the supporting actors around her slip between varying roles impressively.

Unfortunately, despite the novel's potential for fast-moving action, intense emotion and human interaction, this translation to stage is stagnant and disappointing. To 08-02-14

Alison Brinkworth 

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