Monday, 16 September 2019

Let MEOWT! - Theatre Review

What: Let MEOWT!
When: 12 - 17 September 2019
Where: Rattlesnake Saloon
Created and performed by: Catherine Holder and Laura Moran
Catherine Holder and Laura Moran
There is a crazy Fringe venue on downtown Lygon Street called the Rattlesnake Saloon which is straight out of a Spaghetti Western, and in the dance hall room at the the back is a secret stash of Melbourne Fringe performances taking place. The one I saw last night was the cute and funny Let MEOWT!

I have been a fan of Holder's work for a while. Experiences she has created, such as Sonder and Blood Is Thicker Than Hummus, are clever, interactive and enriching. Let MEOWT! sees Holder creating a more traditional fourth wall type of show with Moran - although it is fair to say this is still not what anyone would call 'standard'.

Holder and Moran play two cats - Cinnamon and Pepper respectively. Born from the same litter and growing up with the same human slave (who they call Mother) Cinnamon is the runt and the very self important Pepper spends every moment of her life making sure she knows it.

Cinnamon is fun-loving, curious, and perhaps not the brightest bulb in the Christmas tree. Pepper, on the other hand, is sleek and neurotic and ever so condescending.

One day they find themselves locked in the bathroom. Not through any malice on the part of Mother. It's just that Cinnamon was napping in the laundry basket and Pepper was on the window sill enjoying the view when the door was closed. The next 45 minutes of the show involves watching the two of them tearing the bathroom and each other apart as they desperately try to escape their own Satrian hell in order to find food (it's been a whole 5 minutes since they last ate) and a litter tray.

Let MEOWT! is Fringe heaven for the cat lovers of Melbourne. Holder and Moran have evidently spent a lot of time watching cats and have so many of their mannerisms and peculiarities down pat.

Perhaps the one thing I missed was a more fluid articulation of their spines. Cat's almost seem like they don't have a back bone and Holder and Moran were definitely 2 legged creatures standing tall and straight. I also couldn't figure out why they spent the whole time looking at the ceiling rather than the audience. I would have connected much more strongly with the performance if they had just looked at me...

In terms of Fringe programming, I think Holder and Moran have misunderstood their audience. Although it has some wonderfully dark aspects, Let MEOWT! is really more of a kids show and would have been a sell out in an earlier time slot and a child friendly venue. As a show for adults it lacks depth and body.

Having said that, cat lovers love cats - all cats - any cats - so take a day off watching feline memes on social media and head down to the Rattlesnake Saloon tonight for your last chance to see what these furry creatures get up to when Mother's back is turned. You will even get some handy hints about applying mascara!

2.5 Stars

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