Shelagh Stephenson’s play about family, memory and blurred boundaries returns after 25 years.
Three sisters have a close connection and a rich shared history. As time goes on, the certainty about what is authentic family history and what is heresy begins to loosen. This tragi-comedy looks at life, death, and relationships with a tender eye. 'The Memory of Water' won the Olivier Award for Best Comedy and was subsequently adapted for the screen following runs in the West End and on Broadway.
Stephenson was inspired by her own mother’s funeral, which exacerbated existing tensions, and you can sense that authentic experience. Unfortunately, it’s cheapened by the addition of sitcom zingers, clunky plotting and tortured metaphors.
Although dope and whiskey are passed around, the comedy never achieves a true headiness and the sisters’ quips and snipes don’t always sting as they should...It’s the play’s melancholia that lingers in the memory rather than the comedy.