Nothing is as it seems in Many Moons, and the play is all the better for it. The first full-length effort from fresh young writer Alice Birch, formerly of The Old Vic's 24 Hour Plays, this play sees four characters tell their intertwined stories over the course of a fascinating hour and a half.
There's more to each character than you would think, with Birch cleverly twisting perceptions every step of the way. She's a thoughtful writer, and a versatile one too, perfectly balancing laugh-out-loud moments with disturbingly dark moments. All her actors (two boys, two girls) do sterling work, too, showcasing how easy it is to misunderstand others.
Esther Smith is wonderful as gorgeous, dotty, darling Juniper, who believes in Jesus and unicorns, both at the same time, as is Esther Hall, whose paranoid, lonely Meg accurately represents that certain kind of traumatised, upper-middle-class housewife. Smith endears, while Hall creates empathy. You'd want Juniper to be your friend - but you'd stay well away from Meg.
Meanwhile, Jonathan Newth is strong as Robert, who cares for his dementia-clad wife loyally, but who harbours a dark secret - but as with the rest of the play, judging before the conclusion is not advised.
Edward Franklin does exceedingly well with the intensity of jerky, socially awkward Oliver, who finds himself quite unable to fit in with the rest of the world, his life unravelling before his eyes, seemingly incapable to stop himself from doing anything about it.
It's difficult to be so vague, but it would ruin the play to explain the plot in any more depth. But if you like haunting, twisty writing and great acting (and an early finish!), this is probably the show for you