Dancing in the Moonlight

08/08/19

PQA Venues, Edinburgh

The first time I spot Miles Mlambo, sitting in a café, is an oddly disturbing moment. I am looking at what appears to be the late Phil Lynott’s identical twin. ‘That guy must be in a Thin Lizzy tribute act,’ I decide.

Well, close, but no cigar. Dancing in the Moonlight is a monologue, written and performed by Mlambo, which describes itself as ‘a play about Phil Lynott’ – and, up on the tiny stage at PQA, it’s clear from the outset that the actor has the bluff Dublin brogue to go with that imposing physical presence. (Oh, in case you were wondering, the name is pronounced ‘lie-not,’ rather than ‘linn-not.’)

He tells us about his birth, his early years knocking around on the streets of Manchester, his subsequent move to Dublin without his mother, Philomena. We learn about his early days playing with show bands around Ireland, his short-lived career as front man for Skid Row and the final roll of dice that positioned him to become the leader of what was to be one of the most influential Celtic rock bands of all time.

Mlambo is a likable storyteller but, if there’s a shortcoming here, it’s in the script department, which lacks the swaggering romanticism that infused Lynott’s writing. Incidents that surely deserve to be studied in more depth – such as being abandoned by his mother – are summarily pushed aside. And, as a long time fan of Thin Lizzy,  I would like to see more of the band’s music incorporated into the story.

But if anyone out there is planning to produce a rock biopic about Thin Lizzy, Mlambo is the first actor you should consider for the lead.

3 stars

Philip Caveney

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