Slippers – Theatre Upstairs – Review by Helen O’Leary
“Compulsive hoarding; excessive acquisition of and inability to discard large quantities of objects that cause significant distress” is inscribed on the label of the scrolled up programme for Slippers. The hoarder in question we never meet, only the accumulations of her final twenty years. The events take place in the days following her funeral, when her two daughters Sarah (Soyna O’Donoghue) and Jean (Katie McCann) are faced with the unpleasant task of dismantling her collections.
The set designed by Aoife Fealy is a sight to behold; cardboard boxes piled ceiling high, spilling over with ornaments, books and bric-a-brac of every description. The theatre space that is currently home to Sickle Moon Productions is intimate and it adds to the claustrophobic atmosphere of the set. While they sift through the assorted junk Sarah and Jean also sift through their childhood memories. Gradually a picture is constructed of an unhappy, dysfunctional family and the full extent of their mother’s disturbed mind is revealed.It all sounds very macabre but there are comic moments too with some unexpected discoveries in old jars and lunchboxes! That sisterly way of knowing exactly how to needle the other makes for funny lines. The actresses spark off each other as tensions between them build. They each coped with their difficult upbringing in very different ways. Jean fled to London and severed all ties with home. Sarah opted to continue living with her mother constructing a life that constantly accommodated for her mothers strangeness. Each feels the other had the easier time and there are moments where the fraught atmosphere threatens to boil over.
This is a newly written play by Jeda de Bri and Finbarr Doyle and their curious choice of subject matter is both fascinating and unnerving. As the play progresses and the girls barely make an impression on the rubble and you have to wonder how exactly will they exit the mess? Their solution in the end is an enlightened one; you’ll have to go yourself to find out.
Runs until April 5th @ Theatre Upstairs
Sickle Moon Productions presents SLIPPERS
A new play by Jeda de Brí and Finbarr Doyle
DIRECTOR: Jeda de Brí
CAST: Katie McCann & Sonya O’Donoghue