Five days after your lover dies the kettle stops working... Catherine Smith is one of those writers who sneak up on you.
Twice shortlisted for the Forward Prize, Smith has a deceptively low-key style beneath which lurks a delicately-wrought web of keenly-observed human behaviour. This show, Weight, is a performance of three of her latest stories, brought to the stage by Lewes Live Lit and its director Mark Hewitt.
Each tale is concerned with secrets in different ways. In Sow, performed by Kathryn McGarr, a woman makes a long-overdue confession to a childhood crime. In The Kettle, Smith herself played a woman struggling to come to terms with the death of her lover while married life carries on regardless. Never have the words “cornflakes” and “Morphy Richards” carried such heavy suburban irony.
The final story of the night, The Ascension Of Mary, is a gorgeous flight of fancy about a Bradford housewife who finds she can fly. As Mary and her new friends take to the skies over Yorkshire, we share a glimpse a world where middle-aged women float invisibly overhead in fleeces and bobble hats, before coming down for a nice cup of tea and a Jaffa Cake.
With incidental music by Peter Copley and a slick lighting design by Clare O’Donaghue, the Nightingale Theatre must have been pleased on such a hot night to have got a quart into a pint pot.