The Memory of Water review

The Memory of Water by Shelagh Stephenson

Kingston Bagpuize Drama Group – May 2009

The action of the play takes place in the bedroom of the late mother of the three sisters, who have gathered for the funeral and recount the various memories of childhood and other events surrounding life with their mother.

The three sisters, totally different in their outlook and character were played by a very strong cast of Andrea Spencer (Mary), Sally Lacey (Teresa) and Emily Eastham (Catherine), ably supported by Rob Bateman (Mike) and Rob Hall (Frank), with ghost-like appearances from Jennifer Haywood (Vi).

The differences between the sisters were well portrayed with the professional doctor (Mary) goaded into revealing her dark secret of a teenage pregnancy and who reacted well with her long-term partner (Mike) when the revelation came. The long suffering (Teresa) attending to her mother’s last days was powerfully played, with an excellent under-played portrayal of being drunk and demonstrated a good relationship with her patient husband (Frank). The youngest sister Catherine, delightfully OTT came in like a storm and maintained this throughout, even when she was trying to seduce the partner of one of her sisters. Each of the sisters had their own time of pathos and (dissimilar) reminiscences of their childhood and time with their mother, provoking a different reaction in each. The quiet ghostly appearance of Vi to Mary enhanced her bitterness of the situation. It took a little while to realise who the vision in green was, as she looked remarkably healthy, rather than dead!

The girls’ partners, Frank and Mike were both very convincing in their respective roles and helped enhance the fragile relationship between the sisters

The pace of the play was good and well maintained, with particular high spots of hysteria when the three sisters were either stoned on weed or drunk. It was a very cohesive cast and produced a believable, even though dysfunctional family.

The cast handled the taxing parts well and the play was greatly appreciated by the Saturday night audience.

Nigel James