Review: Salt-Water Moon (Mirvish)

Photo of Kawa Ada and Mayko NguyenSizzing performances in David French’s play Salt-Water Moon presented in Toronto by Mirvish

Salt-Water Moon, written by Canadian playwright David French follows two lovers in Mary and Jacob as they fight for one last chance at a relationship set under a blanket of stars in 1920’s Newfoundland.

Factory Theatre‘s version of Salt-Water Moon feels like the type of show you would come across in a small studio space off some alleyway somewhere, yet it manages to work beautifully on the bare, Panasonic stage with nothing but a smoky haze and flickering candles as a back drop.

Director Ravi Jain stripped this treasured, classic Canadian play down to the bare-minimum, and left us only with the magic, showing the audience how special this piece really is.

The show has a softness as well as a gentleness to it and even feels cozy despite being in a 700-seat theatre. It was the unwavering presence the actors brought to the stage that really drew me into this beautifully-crafted world of Salt-Water Moon.

The direction focuses on the vulnerability of the characters leaving the actors nowhere to hide but in their own bodies. Every line, step and gesture is steeped in a meditative presence, captivating me from beginning to end.

The show opens to Ania Soul perched at the side of the stage, crooning on her guitar in a soothing, Norah Jones-esque timbre. We soon discover that she is our narrator for the evening and lucky for us, she is bringing her guitar and beautiful singing voice along with her.

Mayko Nguyen and Kawa Ada play the beloved characters of Mary and Jacob. The pair simply sizzles with chemistry bringing their full presence and attention to each other. Ada’s performance of Jacob is thoughtful and sincere, fully embodying a man of the 1920’s without needing any props, costume or accents to inform the performance.

Nguyen brings an incredible focus to her role. She seems to be vibrating at a whole other level. Every time she speaks it feels like I’m the only one who can see her. Her presence is hypnotizing. Even the way she breathes is interesting to me.

The lines are delivered by Nguyen and Ada at a quick pace and although it’s sometimes a bit too quick to follow, there is still an overwash of emotion as well as a strong intention behind every word said which keeps me completely and utterly mesmerized throughout.

Salt-Water Moon is a very special show with the sole intention of connecting with the audience. Nguyen and Ada take us on an emotional journey, with gentle guidance from our narrator, Soul and careful planning by director, Jain. I was more than happy to go along for the ride.

What happened on the Panasonic stage tonight wasn’t a performance. It wasn’t a statement either. It was just…life and it was beautiful.


  • Salt-Water Moon is playing at the Panasonic Theatre (651 Yonge St.)
  • Playing from October 17-October 29, 2017
  • Shows run Tuesday to Saturday at 8:00 p.m., Wednesday at 1:30 p.m., and Saturday & Sunday at 2:00 p.m (note: there is no matinee on October 18th).
  • Tickets are 39$-92$ and are available to purchase online, through Ticket King (416-872-1212) or in person at the Panasonic box office before the show.
  • This venue is accessible.

Photo of Kawa Ada and Mayko Nguyen by Joseph Michael Photography.