Sister Cities (4 stars)

This article is from 2008.

Sister Cities

Death and the maidens

If naturalistic plays set in living rooms are not your bag, then it might be wise to avoid Sister Cities. But, for all its conventionality, Colette Freedman’s black comedy contrives to constantly amuse with crisp, observant dialogue and nicely tempered performances.

Four sisters, each born to a different father, gather at their family home in the aftermath of their ailing mother’s suicide. Mum (Jill Gascoigne) is still in the bathroom, her wrists slit, and as we await the coroner we can only wonder at her adventurous life as a former showgirl whose unorthodox emotional journey has produced four daughters, each named after the place of their conception. Carolina (Susan Zeigler) is a go-getting lawyer midway through a divorce; Austen (Freedman) a slovenly novelist; Dallas (Nickella Moschetti) a conventional suburban housewife and Baltimore (Jade Sealey) a promiscuous postgrad. Each has a secret which emerges when mother appears in a flashback monologue.

The comedy of contemporary life that emerges has a touch of post-feminist Sex in the City about it, but there’s more honesty to the emotional dilemmas expressed, and great wit in dialogue that pointedly locates the traps into which modern women fall. It’s as much West End fare as Fringe, but this is a smart and accomplished piece of drama, well performed by its cast.

Gilded Balloon Teviot, 668 1633, until 24 Aug (not 18), 6.45pm, £9.50–£10.50 (£8.50–£9.50)

Sister Cities

  • 4 stars

Black comedy about four sisters, reunited after mum Jill Gascoigne slits her wrists. It's more West End than Fringe fare, but it's still a smart, accomplished piece of naturalistic drama. 'Part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe'

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