Camden Fringe 2017
This new play follows the dysfunctional and dangerous night that ensues at the hands of two frantically farcical couples. One couple are hiding secrets whilst the other are mourning their dead cat whilst confusing the evening with a ‘swinger’s party’. It is ‘Abigail’s Party’ urbanised, sexualised and amplified into oblivion. Then a ticking time bomb that is a shoebox containing a dead cat is thrown into the mix.
‘Sorry I Killed Your Cat’ was written and performed by Tré Curran at The Cockpit; himself and fellow actor Liam Harvey formed Lost Fragments Productions whilst training at The School of Arts and collaborated to devise this play. Tré played the character of James and his partner Charlotte was played by Katherine Hartshorne. The other couple were played by Liam as Aaron and Annie Jones as Lisa.
Walking into the auditorium we notice that it has been set in the round with a sofa, armchair, potted plants, coffee table, shoe rack and shoe box occupying the space. Small candles are dotted around giving the impression of a slightly bohemian and relaxed London apartment as everything is arranged haphazardly and sloppily.
Tré who plays James flourishes at pinpoints in this production and ‘plays dead’ hilariously letting his agitated movements transform into a nonchalant fall to the ground. This is just the start of the nudges towards the central elephant in the room which is the dead cat. At the beginning of the show he is comfortable and complacent relaxing in his dwelling however as the play twists and turns he unwinds much like a ball of yarn, pun intended. He becomes increasingly uncomfortable once the other couple arrive and he attempts to cover up his inner squirming however instead accidentally tells unintended offensive jokes not well received by Aaron who worships his cat Mittens. He feeds his guests carrots out of a tin, giggles nervously and as the pressure of the social situation gets too much for him plus the many alcoholic drinks consumed his eye balls start to pop.
Katherine who plays James’ partner Charlotte is like a sweetie bag of pick n mix, she pops, fizzes and like some sweets that become your favourites there are others that are to your distaste and so is her performance. She is an exciting performer and is constantly changing and versatile with sweet and sourness in her voice and physicality, she surprises us continually. Her voice is breathy at first and mostly high-pitched and meant that some of what she says can’t be heard clearly, however it is an interesting vocal choice and adds to the zany character. Similarly to that of James she unravels and does so in explosive ways: her voice goes from breathy to screechy to croaky and we love her intoxicated daring dancing. Perhaps her performance is a little too much at times and ceases to be believable, sometimes her reactions are stretched a little too far, however her social façade and grotesque facial expressions are brilliant to watch, she is the Alison Steadman of this party.
Liam plays Aaron and is the most consistent and believable out of the four. Wearing an adidas jacket, a Northern accent and a laddish demeanour he is conceivably charismatic in his role. His prolonged gleeful expressions and comic timing are perfect. Perhaps for him to really stand-out his character would benefit from more time on stage. With a bit more finesse and character quirks Aaron would be tremendous.
Annie as Lisa is the breezy woman who every girl wants to be including the insanely envious Katherine. Her sexuality unleashes dramatically with the use of a vacuum cleaner, her oral sex demonstration and mounting of James to his utter confusion yet arousal. Her voice could be more posh to accentuate her sophistication or perceived sophistication and to contrast more with the rougher Liam. As well as this her voice could strengthen by deeper resonance and improve with being more visceral. However she does surprise us with full-bodied hysteria which envelops her into a frightful frenzy following a sharp change from her previous placidity.
Climactic moments are highlighted well when James and Charlotte hurl and fire accusations across the living space and offstage to each other enlivening the drama. Some moments of dialogue could be honoured a little more as props were occasionally moved causing noise and some of the words to be lost. However the majority of the staging worked wondrously and for great comedic impact. Lisa takes the spotlight literally and spiritually by standing atop the coffee table and self-confidently providing her fellow friends with a speech about the uniqueness of pigeons; we are amused when Charlotte boisterously and unrepentantly vacuums around Lisa’s feet and the coffee table on which she is standing.
The writing is clever and witty and because of the strong plot surrounding the elephant in the room which is the dead cat it allows for a wide scope of hilarity to boil up in frenzied emotion and dilemma. The script has cat puns, multi-infused vodka that Lisa proudly boasts of concocting and when Aaron grieves for Mittens he reels off a list of terrible things that have recently happened to him: losing his oyster card being one of them. Overall it was an enjoyable event with laugh-out-loud moments and with just a few tweaks could be very strong indeed and so is awarded the ‘recommended’ rating.