Originally developed with the Royal Court,
Surprisingly, given this sensitive subject matter, Skin a Cat is an uproariously funny story about one woman’s search for sexual fulfilment.
Surprisingly, given this sensitive subject matter, Skin a Cat is an uproariously funny story about one woman’s search for sexual fulfilment. This is largely due to first-rate acting from the three cast members Larson, Jessica Clark (who plays all the women characters in Alana’s life) and Jassa Ahluwalia (who plays all the men). Both have an impressive ability to portray multiple characters convincingly, changing effortlessly from minute to minute through slight but precise differences in pose, accent, tone and body language. Ahluwalia should be particularly praised as he has a hard job to pull off as the story necessitates he play one character who is much older than himself.
Brummy Alana has a difficult relationship with her uptight mother (again excellently constructed with a few simple gestures and spot on Birmingham accent by Clark) who is unable to offer much support to her troubled daughter when her period arrives unexpectedly at the age of 9. Years later and Alana has still not mastered the art of tampon insertion and things get worse when she tries to have sex with her boyfriend for the first time. So begins an often graphic tale of Alana’s discovery of and attempts to overcome her frustrating condition.
The cast has a tough task to portray the various sexual encounters and experiments that Alana goes through but are helped by the simple but effective set (Holly Pigott) of a spot lit bed in the round which creates a very intimate stage in the otherwise cavernous space in the heart of the Waterloo Vaults. Lynn’s script is perfectly nuanced, sweeping from hilarious physical comedy that reminds how undignified and silly sex can be (particularly if you’re a woman) to more seriously and poignant moments as the sweet but confused Alana slowly learns to come to terms with her condition.
Larson is innocently charming in this pertinent story which transcends being gratuitous but rather allows the audience to follow and share in a traumatic but also uplifting story of sexual discovery against the odds.