A play inspired by the Save Leith Walk campaign, Moonlight on Leith by REDCAP Theatre is a play set during an average night in Leith where the moon itself seems to take on the role of ad-hoc narrator. The show focuses on a host of characters that, albeit simplified down somewhat, are meant to capture the heart of Leith’s community; the mildly aggressive locals, the hipsters, and the families. Moonlight on Leith is well acted and varied, featuring some memorable characters and a comforting Scottish sense of humour.
The cast take on a host of figures ranging from botany-obsessed housewives to incompetent rookie police officers. Nicola Alexander in particular shines, her fantastic talent for expressiveness coming across in every scene where she has a starring role. Kyle Martin, meanwhile, runs the risk of stealing the show as an impudent French cat (complete with cat ears). All the performers lean into the roles that suit them best, a secret to how the show comes across as so finely tuned. While at times you may be asking for more – more volume, more scale, more action – this is clearly a play more concerned with capturing a setting in detail rather than pushing ahead with a concrete, detailed story.
There is an admiring drive to capture what Leith is about and translate this onto the stage. It might not get all the detail it hopes for, but especially for any Edinburgh locals in the audience there is still undeniable charm and relatability shining through. The humour is just one means by which Laila Noble and Emilie Robson’s demonstrates the respect and adoration it has for the Leith community. Most importantly, this love of Leith and the Scottish capital more generally is as evident in the performers as it is in the crowd.
Moonlight on Leith is a bare bones project from a group of Edinburgh Napier University graduates, and is exactly the kind of show you would expect new performers to earn their stripes in. Capturing the vast, vibrant world of Leith is a bit difficult in such a small-scale performance, but there is still more than enough to enjoy in just one of many plays at the Fringe this year with a deep appreciation for the locals of Edinburgh.