There is little to distinguish Coelacanth from a number of Moor's other recent shows. But this once gangling young man is now, under Erica Whyman's direction, a gently assured performer whose natural generosity shines forth along with his intelligence - and such odd yet perfectly crafted miniature jewels are the essence of Fringe magic. Greater public success might perish the unique wonder of Moor's work, but greater recognition is certainly his due.
Ian Shuttleworth, Financial Times, 26th August 2005
This fantastic (in both senses of the word) tale of Moor's past as a competitive tree climber.
But, as he says: "It's not in my nature to be natural." A satisfying hour all the same.
Adrian Turpin, Sunday Times, 21st August 2005
Snapshot: One man ruminates on life, love and tree climbing
High point: The whole performance
Low point: There was none
Snapshot in the style of a crap reviewers' quote on a poster: Love, life, leaves and leavings
Personal evolution lies at the heart of this wonderful, warm and touching play. It is the sometimes sad, sometimes funny story of a man involved in competitive tree climbing, who finds love, loses it, but, like England's ancient trees, keeps growing.
The script is as taut as an elastic band; not one word is wasted. It breezes delicately through humour to pathos, joy to death. Moor's performance is sensitive and gentle, his voice soothing as it delivers jokes, and insights that fall one after another like leaves.
This is a life-affirming story, sweetly tragi-comic that could easily have been maudlin, but never is.
One man, one hour simple but effective, this is fringe theatre at its best.
Diane Maclean, Scotsman.com, 16th August 2005
Poetic also. . . (is) Ben Moor's play Coelacanth at the Pleasance. Moor has written plays like this before: whimsy, quirky, funny riffs on being abit of a geek. It's more storytelling really, in this case a one-man show performed by himself, again on the theme of lost love. The play is about one man's discovery that he must forgo what he thought was his "coelacanth heart'': let go of the girl he loved and let time wring its changes. It's an entrancing image for one of life's most serious lessons.
Serena Davies, Daily Telegraph, 15th August 2005
Ben Moor's wonderful little monologue . . .
Moor's world is peopled by an absurd set of everyday eccentrics who've constructed themselves a set of obsessions to help them get by. Told in a charmingly oddball manner, this is a delightful vignette of hope and despair, full of surreal semantic backflips and laterally punchlined sidesteps. It's also very, very wise. It's about letting go of the past, grabbing hold of the here and now and, eventually, moving on to the future. As with the trees, this delightfully funny, clever but not smartass shaggy dog story is about growing up.
In Moor's hands that's something pretty beautiful.
Neil Cooper, The Herald, 22nd August 2005
Moor casts himself as a tree-obsessed loner, introduced to the sport of competitive tree climbing who then meets the girl of his dreams, loses her and then discovers, the hard way, his true path in life and love. It is nonsense, of course, but the unassuming Moor, who, bearded, shoeless and shirted, resembles a shipwrecked bank clerk, is such an engaging, warm and witty host that while you are in his company you take it as gospel.
His wonderfully delicate and deliberate turn of phrase is a delight and the show is snatched away from total whimsy by an episode in which Moor's lovelorn character goes amusingly off the rails before finding solace in the branches. It is all rather lovely and strangely uplifting. Literally.
Chris Bartlett, The Stage, 25th August 2005
It's rare that you get to call a Fringe performance 'sweet'. Ben Moor, with his grubby suit, bare feet and unshaven chin has probably never been called that either, but his tale of love in the tree climbing world is, if not sugary, forlornly touching. Apparently the envy of more well-known comics for his his hugely intelligent writing, Moor is an Edinburgh regular and this year's Coelacanth is true to his wistful, storytelling form. . . The tale soon drags you in with fondly sketched details and the odd tug on the heart strings. Just as it all gets a little too fuzzy-wuzzy though, Moor canters off into clusters of sharp one-liners, perfectly timed to keep things palatable. A real treat.
Clare Harris, The Big Issue, 11-17 August 2005
From a love of competitive tree climbing to meeting and losing the love of his life, the show's writer and performer Ben Moor tells us his tale with entrancing stage presence and warmth. The text is poetically rich, never squandering a word, and every line has meaning or humour or indeed humorous meaning. And with such detail, at times it's a real challenge to catch the subtlety and brilliance of one line before moving on to the next. Although Moor's observations brim with eccentric originality, they are presented with comforting sincerity, making them feel familiar and personal. Erica Whyman's discreet direction draws out the quirky appeal of this piece of creative storytelling that opens your eyes to a new way of looking at the world, and perhaps trees.
Michelle Macintyre, The List, 11-18 August 2005
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