Kathryn O’Reilly’s new play, her second after 2016’s Screwed, follows two sisters as they seek to find their place in the world.
Sister (played by O’Reilly herself) and Her (Anna Doolan) have been brought up by abusive parents struggling with addictions. They are trying to navigate the adult world and escape the hand they have been dealt.
The poetic writing combines with physical performances to create a moving story of sadness and lost hope in a world where young women in poverty can too easily fall through the gaps in the system.
O’Reilly’s performance is particularly strong, as a drug-addled 20-something who still believes in her role as the protective older sister. Doolan works well with a difficult role, combining a narrator figure with a needy younger sister.
There is a lot going on in the piece, perhaps too much. The physical scenes convey the most emotion, and the quick-fire, poetic language is performed with power, but too often the pace is dependent on Doolan in her role as narrator.
Essentially a series of tableaux, Lucy Allan’s production successfully uses lighting and sound – by Benny Goodman and Nicola Change – to signal to the audience where and when we are in place and time.
O’Reilly and Doolan work well together to create a loving and realistic portrayal of sisterhood, even if the narrative feels overly reliant on factors outside of their story.