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NY1 Theater Review: "The Old Man And The Old Moon"

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"The Old Man and the Old Moon" is a new work by some young theater graduates from Carnegie Mellon University. NY1's Roma Torre filed the following review.

It's probably not fair to compare Broadway's "Peter and the Starcatcher" with the tiny Pigpen Theatre Company's "The Old Man And The Old Moon," but it's impossible to do otherwise. Both are prime examples of story theatre, and while "Starcatcher" takes a tongue-in-cheek tone, The Old Man is more earnest and musical. It's also budgeted on a shoestring. Peter may be the slicker of the two...but both are ingeniously inventive.

The fledgling Pigpen Company is the inspiration of seven newly-minted graduates from Carnegie Mellon's School of Drama. The multi-talented men, all expert musicians, singers and actors, came up with the idea for an original Irish folk tale about a man whose job is to fill the leaking moon each day. When his beloved wife wanders off in search of a captivating song she hears, he leaves his job to bring her home.

Greeted with a multitude of adventures, from sailing into a war zone to being swallowed up by a giant fish and falling from a hot air balloon, he never gives up the hunt. And with low-tech ingenuity, there's no end to the stunning creativity on display here. Puppets. Silhouettes. Shoe trees used as flopping fish. Pliers become a bird's beak. A mop turns into a dog and towels are floating rafts.

Staged in Washington Square's The Gym at Judson, the off-off-Broadway production has an infectious improvisational quality that, while imaginatively touching, could also be a little wearisome for sophisticated tastes. For me, "The Old Man and the Old Moon" shined brightest in song. Just as it haunts the wife in the story, the music has the power to lull us into an inescapable reverie.

At two hours plus, the rambling story could use some sizeable trimming. But observing the rapt young children in the house, there's no denying Pigpen's unique magic.

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