Moon on a Rainbow shawl

By John Nathan, March 23, 2012
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Cottesloe, National Theatre, London SE1

The Trinidad-born Errol John wrote his 1957 play in response to a playwriting competition set up by the Observer critic Kenneth Tynan. It won. John must have been burning to write the play anyway. Set in post-war Port of Spain, in a yard surrounded by shacks, its hero is bus driver Ephraim whose ambition is to leave his dead-end life by taking a ship to Liverpool.

It is a work that stands tall alongside other classic 20th-century family dramas in which poverty's first victim is dignity. The family in Moon is a community, and watching over them all is Sophia, who keeps body and soul together in the face of male fecklessness. In that role a passionate and compassionate Martina Laird gives Michael Buffong's sure-footed production one of the finest performances you will see this year. (Tel: 020 7452 3000)

    Last updated: 3:37pm, March 23 2012