The What's On And Where To Go
review of
Cat And Mouse (Sheep)






Its surely a sign of just how
predictably parochial and whimpish
British drama has become when
Gregory Motton has to go to Paris to
get this brilliant state of the nation
play premiered. Almost totally
ignored by our own theatrical
establishment, Motton is much
appreciated in Europe and is
presently Britain's most performed
playwright in France. But thanks to
the Gate's inaugural Biennale season
Londoners at least have a chance to
hear a unique voice that totally
defies any neat categorisation.
       However loose and anarchic this
voice may be, Motton's scabrous style
is still a blast of fresh air -punkish
poetry casting a wide ranging and
wickedly caustic eye across a sleazy
1990s Britain, where words have
become “the splatter of shit from a
fat nurses bum who eats but cannot
digest”.
       But there's a lot more than dirty
jokes in this surreal, gender bent and
scatological romp which keeps on
sailing ever closer to the wind as it
follows the rise and fall of young
Gengis (played by a woman) who
runs a desolate corner shop. After
starting a price war with
      CAT AND MOUSE
(SHEEP)

Gate
his neighbour, the mighty khan
ends up controlling the whole
country from the north London

suburb of H, aided by his smiling
aunty and deadpan uncle and with
the occasional interruption from the
poet Laureate, Dickwitts.
       At first sight you are confronted
with a no-hope scenario that
includes everything from sex abuse
to the housing crisis and education,
although at its heart there is a
strong thread of humanity that
constantly pulls Motton's writing
from the grunge of despair. Gengis,
for example , longs for´the love of
Indira, who, Godot-like, never
comes. Satirical, witty and mind
boggling at just about every
conceivable level, this all adds to a
unique theatrical experience.
       Motton also co-directs, with
Ramin Gray, making the actors
flattened, laid back delivery a
complete contrast to the brutality of
his own full-blooded language. Rudi
Davies gives an outstanding
performance as the despotic but
emotionally tender Gengis,
delivering set piece speeches with  
such simplicity that she is
practically unnerving, although she
is well matched by the malign
presence of Tony Rohr's uncle and by
Penelope Dimond as his accomplice
Aunty. Theatregoing can never be
quite the same after this.
                                            ROGER FOSS