Can old flames rekindle? Such is the question posed to us in Neptune Theatre’s relaunch of David French’s classic play, Salt-Water Moon. Set in 1926 rural Newfoundland, we are introduced to Mary Snow (Kelin Boyd) who, while standing outside her house with a telescope, encounters former fling Jacob Mercer (Nathan Simmons). For Mary, Jacob’s reentry into her life justifiably exacerbates matters for two reasons: 1) Jacob skipped out on her abruptly a year ago to leave for Toronto without as much as a goodbye; and 2) Mary has since licked her wounds and become engaged to another man. Safe to say, Mary is not thrilled with the recent curveball life has thrown at her, and expresses her annoyance and disbelief that Jacob would come strutting back to her house so thoughtlessly. Jacob deflects her anger with nonchalant breeziness, convinced there’s still an ember that can be rekindled after a year.
Boyd plays Mary well, her anger and reservations blending together as her heart is left scrambling to decide what it truly desires. Simmons is good at deflecting Mary’s reservations and resentment. Both characters have their own reasons for skipping town, for moving on, and why it might not be in their best interests to get back together.
Acting abilities aside, for an eighty minute show with two cast members and no scene changes, Salt-Water Moon is a tall order. Whereas there are many moments of genuine humour and tenderness, the remount of French’s play, under the direction of Martha Irving, is at times a plodding and dense affair. While Boyd and Simmons do manage to find some semblance of their former love under their salt-water moon, it often felt like slow-going, which left me wishing their reunion had been a more captivating tryst throughout.
All photos credited to Stoo Metz.