There is an eerie, dream-like quality to ATC's finely crafted revival of When Sun & Moon Collide that situates the play within a tradition that might be called Kiwi Gothic.

As with the novels of Ronald Hugh Morrieson, the drama opens a window on the seedy underbelly of our rural heartland and exposes sinister forces festering beneath the tranquil surface of small town New Zealand.

The distinctive lyricism of playwright Briar Grace-Smith is brilliantly displayed in a tale that unfolds like a hallucination with a strange mix of richly poetic imagery, wicked humour and explosive violence.

The psychological drama is neatly contained by Daniel Williams' set, which lovingly recreates the intimate space of an old-fashioned tearoom that is hemmed in by a boldly abstract representation of Horowhenua's rippling earth.


Director Rawiri Paratene's finely choreographed staging is precisely synchronised with Thomas Press' cinematic sound design and Jennifer Lal's atmospheric lighting.

At the heart of the drama is a tangled web of family relationships and fragmented childhood memories brought to life with compelling performances from a cast of four talented young actors.

As proprietor of a tearoom that has fallen out of tune with the times, Jack Buchanan offers a moving portrait of a stunted personality who dreams of an adventurous life while clinging to the fading security of his failing business. Kura Forrester brings an amusingly idiosyncratic quality to her portrayal of a rural police officer while Emily Campbell presents a haunting image of a troubled outsider struggling with an eating disorder.

Joe Dekkers-Reihana gives an electrifying performance as a drifter with a criminal record and offers insight into how the psychological damage of an unstable childhood merges with a Maori understanding of cosmic forces that are regulated by the phases of the moon.

Theatre review

What: When Sun & Moon Collide

Where & When: ASB Waterfront Theatre to July 6

Reviewer: Paul Simei-Barton