Adulthood. Womanhood. Motherhood. Oh, and the aphrodisiac properties of grass. All are explored with equal parts insight and absurdity in
Moonface is a bittersweet examination of growing pains, devised with precision and intelligence, and performed with honesty and joy.
Stealing surprise laughs from the audience barely ten seconds into the show, Moonface could easily be mistaken for a pure and simple comedy (and a very good one at that). But a clever, poignant script and three exceptionally strong performers means that we are treated to so much more. Moonface follows three young women as they make their way messily into the unknown realm of adulthood, crafting beautifully honest portraits of female relationships along the way. For female friendship to be treated with the humour, intelligence, and love it deserves is to be applauded in itself, but the flawless chemistry between Sara (Grace Church) and Cathy (Molly McGeachin) forms the foundation of surely one of the most detailed and well-crafted performances of this year’s Fringe. Whether wrapping each other up in teenage daydreams, exchanging the ins and outs of their formative fumbles, or arguing as equally wide-eyed adults, Church and McGeachin’s characters consistently sparkle with a brilliant sense of truth.
Although the pacy show is packed with comic moments, believability is never sacrificed for the sake of humour. This is especially impressive when we cut to the neurotic Josie (Lucy Mangan), whose surreal story is initially spliced together with that of Sara and Cathy. Combining physical theatre with naturalism is tricky, but Guttersnipe does it adeptly. The girlish choreography of teen best friends Sara and Cathy adds to the fantastical quality with which adolescence is here so incisively portrayed, but it is in Mangan’s monologues as Josie that the use of physicality really comes into its own. With only a duvet-strewn bed for set, Mangan takes us on an utterly convincing journey through the minutiae of her highly scheduled day with only mime, movement, and her wonderfully expressive eyebrows for assistance. Josie, like Sara and Cathy, is silly, but never stupid, and the hormone-fuelled experiences of youth are treated with a fond respect throughout.
Moonface is a bittersweet examination of growing pains, devised with precision and intelligence, and performed with honesty and joy. Not to be missed.