In Shelagh Stephenson’s vibrant, funny play (which won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy in 2000), three sisters, Teresa, Mary and Catherine, come together before their mother’s funeral, each haunted by their own demons. The play focuses on how each sister deals with the death and how it directly affects them. The three each have different memories of the same events, causing constant bickering about whose memories are true. As the three women get together after years of separation, all their hidden lies and self-betrayals are about to reach the surface.
The play shows the three bickering siblings returning to the family’s Yorkshire home for their mother’s funeral – an event that reveals each of their personal crises. Mary is a 39-year-old neurologist aching to wrench her married lover, Mike, from his wife and have a child of her own. Teresa, the eldest, is an anxious control freak who runs a health food business and burns with long-buried resentments. The wildest, and possibly unhappiest, is Catherine, a hypochondriac exhibitionist who craves love and affection. The other significant character is the dead mother, Vi, who pops up in Mary’s memories.
This is a warm and observant drama that suggests life is a permanent mix of comedy and tragedy.