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  • Writer's pictureMaygan Forbes

Cat review: The Secrets Cat Keeps

*** 3 STARS

Cat (played by Connie Harris) would rather stick pins in her eyes than care for her ailing grandfather. But when her grandfather finds he is at her mercy for care support, secrets pertaining to their strained relationship are brought to the surface. Cat is both crude, resentful, and delightfully chaotic with a lot on her plate, and it starts with her family. After her mother passes away, Cat is tasked with the job of caring for her sick grandfather. But her care is conditional as secrets start to bubble to the surface of why she couldn't care less if he lived or died. Cat (also written and directed by Harris) is an angry and verbally sadistic play that shines a light on sickness, the natural sickness of an ageing human and the perverse sickness of predatory family members.

The subject matter and the performance is very strong. Harris' character of Cat is a whirlwind of emotions and is so finely carved out and with the right amount of tweaking, Cat can be set as a strong play. Cat's lack of value comes is part of a childhood trauma that began from birth. At the root of her actions is a deeply relatable, self-sabotaging character with little outlet for her pain. By day she works as a teacher who demands authority even from her colleagues (we all have known a teacher like this!) and by night she is haunted by her failed relationships. It's a vicious cycle that is fed by the sickness she was exposed to from early on.

I would have liked to have seen Cat with more vile-like tendencies sprinkled into her character, more stories told to the audience of the many ways in which she continues to amplify her sabotage to other areas of her life. At the moment, Cat is kinda like a polished Fleabag (2013, Phoebe Waller-Bridge) - I would like to know what the character wants from being able to tell this story to the audience, what questions she wants us to leave with. I also think having more elements to the stage will add more to the narrative, Cat presents a minimalist stage with just a chair for stage design. This can work however there was something missing to carry the story deeper.


Cat - Connie Harris

Creative team:

Writer & director - Connie Harris

Photographer - Grace Hosier

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