views from the gods

saints and sinners of the stage and screen

Sorry, I Killed Your Cat
The Courtyard Theatre
21st February 2017

★★★☆☆

Katherine Hartshorne as Charlotte

Photography © Louis Hull

How well do you know your neighbours? In London flats with paper-thin walls, you might think you’re pretty familiar with their odd habits and unusual tastes but could you have misinterpreted something? In Sorry I Killed Your Cat, written by Tre Curran, new residents Aaron (Liam Harvey) and Lisa (Annie Jones) have psyched themselves up for a crazy night at the humble abode of fellow council block dwellers Charlotte (Katherine Hartshorne) and James (Curran). Meanwhile, Charlotte and James have been busy preparing for the events ahead, with Charlotte leaving James some key instructions on post-it-notes (always a reliable method of getting things done). The drinks bottles are lined up, the upmarket food has been purchased, and outfits have been carefully selected (no inappropriate shirts allowed for such a classy affair). But the couple also have a terrible secret that threatens to ruin the fun. Then, when Aaron and Lisa arrive ahead of time, a night of mishaps, confusion and madness ensues.

This production from Lost Fragments takes a familiar concept and turns it into a comical affair, covering boyfriend/girlfriend relationships, neighbourly relations and jokes about northern accents, with a few laughs at London living thrown in for good measure. And laugh I did. Though to be fair, I probably spent more time covering my mouth in shock and embarrassment at the characters' goings-on. I particularly enjoyed the 'matching dresses' issue (girls, I'm sure you're familiar with this conundrum), the referencing of the fancy food scene that seems to dominate today's Instagram-filled world, and James' desire to hide away and ignore the impending dinner party (that would be me).

As the night progresses, the situations become more absurd, leading to a final showdown for the unlucky cat highlighted in the title. However, while I found the whole show very funny, it would have benefitted from some more depth at times. The characters are fairly one-dimensional with the exception of James and possibly need more of a backstory to build them up. Additionally, perhaps some of the more ludicrous events could have been toned down to be replaced with more relatable jokes about life and relationships. There are a few moments that just seem a bit too hard to believe, particularly the cat's final destination. Having said that, the story flows well and the ending cleverly links back to the start. If you’re happy to overlook the unbelievability at times, it is an enjoyable watch.

The acting is generally strong, with Curran standing out as James for his relatable demeanour and laidback style. Hartshorne also deserves a mention for having the drunkest character to play, a challenge which she manages very well. However, as a character Charlotte can be frustrating in places. A bit less 'emotional bitch' and a bit more variety would be good. The set, though simple, nicely complements the action with the rows of bottles in the corner, comfy sofa and coffee table evoking a true dinner party. Charlotte's post-it-notes also add to the realism and have actual messages that you can read at the end, which is a nice touch. Equally, in a nod to the play, the seats in the audience are intermittently scattered with post-it-notes addressed from Charlotte asking us to tweet (a great idea, though one which caused some confusion at the start as a few people presumed the seats were reserved - so you now you know, they're not).

Sorry I Killed Your Cat is an entertaining production with some good elements to it. The young cast successfully transport the audience into their miniature world - the council block in North London - and provide a lot of laughs along the way. If the company can replicate this in their next show, but add a bit more depth to the characters, they should do very well.

Sorry I Killed Your Cat opened on 20th February and runs until 25th February 2017 at the Courtyard Theatre.

Nearest tube station: Old Street (Northern)



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