The Cat’s Mother review: A dark comedy dressed up in hot pinks

Dublin Fringe Festival: Sisters contemplate putting their senile mother out of her misery


Black Box, Smock Alley Theatre
How do you begin to consider the inconceivable? In Erica Murray's new play, a dark comedy dressed up in hot pinks, all it takes is one nudge when two sisters imagine life without their senile mother. If only there were some way of putting her out of her misery, wonders Sinéad (Eimear O'Riordan), the housebound daughter wearied by her care. "You're having sick thoughts," rebukes her self-absorbed cosmopolitan sister, Ciara (Sarah Madden), snug in the London flat they have come to visit. But their mother – and her troublesome cat – are downstairs, and something needs to be done. So begins this sly moral teaser about taking responsibility.

As clever as it is funny, Murray's play presents this dilemma as a dementing force of its own. Jackie Fisher's quicksilver production is assisted adeptly by the marvellous Kate Kennedy, playing a series of compellingly strange characters: a coffee-denying barista, a doctor screening Ciara for Cat Aids – "I don't get to say this very often, but it's just a scratch" – a money-conscious mystic healer. With grace notes regarding Irish scandals, from the church to housing, this is an entertainingly subversive take on where "sick thoughts" begin and where they might end.

Runs until Saturday, September 22nd