Thrown back together following the death of their mother, three sisters face their past traumas as they struggle to come to terms with their differing recollections of their shared childhood. The eldest Teresa (Lucy Black), is bitter to be solely responsible for their mother’s end of life care and funeral arrangements. Mary (Laura Rogers) is desperate to start her family with her already married boyfriend and the youngest Catherine (Carolina Main), is finding it difficult to find a man who is willing to stick by her.
The strength of this production comes from the incredible dynamic between the three sisters. Their rapid dialogue and sharp quips feel incredibly natural, with each character gradually reverting to a more childlike version of themselves, as one often does when back in their family home. Black, Rogers and Main are fantastic in their range, each one more than adept at showing the immature pettiness between the sisters whilst simultaneously portraying the vulnerability they have all been hiding.
Kulvinder Ghir as Frank and Adam James as Mike are both excellent as outsiders to this turbulent gathering, with Ghir’s dry and direct rhetoric particularly tickling the audience. Lizzy McInnerny is graceful and powerful as Vi, bringing poise into her weighty scenes, but these moments feel out of place against the otherwise naturalistic piece.
Anna Reid’s set frames the play beautifully. The half-opened drawers, packed wardrobes and dated floral wallpaper allow the space to feel lived in, but the colour palette and lighting create a cold that is reflective of the wintery and sombre setting of the text.
This play is of course about memory, with the sisters finding that they cannot agree on a unifying experience from their upbringing, which therefore asks the questions about who owns a memory regardless of whether it is what actually happened. Mary asks, “Can you feel nostalgia for something that never existed?”
Though the piece is guilty of slightly dragging through the middle of the play, the themes are as relevant as they were twenty-five years ago and Stephenson’s writing is more than worthy of this revival.
It runs until 16 October.
Review: Henry Longstaff Photo: Helen Murray