Starri Hauksson wrote Moments as a radio play which received critical acclaim in his native Iceland. After a successful crowdfunding campaign, Step by Step Productions brings the show to the Drayton Arms Theatre with an Icelandic cast. Some performances are available in the original Icelandic; those less linguistically talented can see the play in English.
Whichever language you choose, the play starts in Icelandic (subtitled on a screen above the stage) with the voices of two young brothers as they sneak out of their home to look for elves (this is Iceland after all). We meet these boys again as adults, bickering in a tiny flat. Andri wears a stained t-shirt and is slouched on a sofa surrounded by cigarettes, empty food boxes, half empty pint glasses and bottles of spirits. He clearly hasn’t left the flat for days. Torfi tries to encourage his brother to get washed, dressed and into the outside world. As the play unfolds over 90 minutes we learn what has befallen these young men to bring them to this place.
All four actors are strong and convincing in their roles. The majority of the stage time is for Andri and Torfi as we explore the brothers’ relationship. Aron Trausti and Siggi Holm work well together and the emotional final scene is well played. The supporting cast of Vala Fannel and Bragi Arnason perform their parts excellently, providing the important outsiders’ views of the situation as it unfolds.
The set is minimal; the whole play takes place in one room of a flat. The small space works well as the world Andri has withdrawn to. Two screens at the back of the stage host projections of the brothers in their childhood as well as being used interestingly for shadows of characters we hear but do not see.
Moments is a tale of family, love, loss and forgiveness, told through the raw emotions of these two brothers. While it may be an Icelandic play, the messages are universal and presented very well here. It’s well worth a trip to West London to see this.
Reviewed by Rhiannon Evans
Moments is playing at the Drayton Arms Theatre until 31 October