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Me and My Sister Tell Each Other Everything
Saturday, July 27
REVIEWED BY BARBARA FRAME
Two little girls are given a dolls’ house, with tiny furniture and a little wooden family, which they are expected to share nicely.
Instead, Jos - organised, tidy and bossy - takes charge of it until the day Murph - messy, impulsive and destructive - wrecks the whole thing.
The dolls’ house takes on a symbolic role throughout the play as the sisters grow older, bicker, and don’t tell each other very much at all, until a crisis in Murph’s life brings them together to acknowledge their shared powerlessness and unhappiness.
At times the play’s trajectory - incomprehension and hostility resolved by abiding sisterly affection - seems predictable and conventional.
The strong points of Arcade Theatre’s production, directed by Heidi Geissler, are Kat Kennedy’s convincing demonstration of the enveloping despair that brings Murph to the point of suicide, and Kate Schrader’s revelation of the emptiness beneath Jos’ competent, upbeat exterior.
Both performances achieve considerable emotional depth and complexity.
Music plays a part, too. Jos, as befits her personality, is a fan of Julie Andrews, while Murph’s tastes are more modern and edgy.
Short musical interludes, such as a Lorde imitation and some not-quite tap dancing, add texture and provide mood contrast.
The performance takes place upstairs at the University Bookshop, on a set designed by Ian McDowall, which includes a representation of a dolls’ house built into the back wall.
About 20 people attended on Saturday night. The play’s mental health theme could be distressing, and it is not suitable for everyone.
The season will run until August 3.
If you go, dress very warmly, because the area where the performance takes place is not heated: woolly layers are essential.