Iris Review

Review of Iris by our guest blogger Ryan Watson. Warning it contains some spoilers!
Iris, written by Alison Carr, is on at Live Theatre until Saturday 30 April. Find out more

‘Blood, Shit, Eyeballs’

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Early in the second half of Iris there’s a really weird little scene in which the three lead characters are in the middle of a heated and pretty uncomfortable argument involving one sister, Ruby, being terrified of being alone in the wake of her mother’s death and another sister, Julie, who wants nothing more than to walk out of the door and run as far away as possible. Whilst this argument is taking place the third character, Gerry is trying to clean dog poo off the living room carpet.

It’s a scene that I feel sums up Iris really well, it’s a show that’s really serious and at times pushes the disagreements between the two sisters to the point where they’re being really brutal towards each other, but at the same time dog poo or dismembered body parts are never far away. Iris is never afraid to be funny in an uncomfortable situation.

Iris is a Live Theatre production written by Alison Carr. The basic set up is that two sisters are having wildly different reactions to their mother’s death. There’s quite an age gap between the two sisters with Julie (played by Katy Cavanagh) being the older one, who’s long since left home and built her own life as a driving instructor in another city and Ruby (played by Sam Neale) who suffered an accident when she was young that’s left her wearing an eye patch and seems to have led a pretty sheltered life with her mother. It’s pretty clear, pretty early on, that their mother Iris might have been a little controlling. There’s also a third character called Gerry (Joe Caffrey), who Julie brings home on the night of her mother’s funeral and who sticks around for a while afterwards.

Alison Carr does a really good job of making the characters multi-dimensional. Half of the notes I made whilst watching the show were basically me reacting to something a character had said (often Julie) that I thought made them completely unforgiveable, only for them to follow it up a couple of minutes later with something that changed my mind. Things get pretty uncomfortable between the three characters at some points and throughout the course of the show they all do things that make you question whether or not you should like them. But at the same time, this is always balanced out with both likeable qualities and a commitment to helping us understand why a character is the way they are.

I enjoyed Iris a lot. It’s a show about dealing with loss and it’s about regret, but all of these things are really about what it means to be a parent. It says some difficult things and it also says some nice things on the subject, but it’s also full of humour that relies on some pretty bizarre things that I think added a fun side to a serious show. I had a really good time.

By Ryan Watson (guest blogger)

Tickets for Iris are £22-£10, over 60 concs £16-£12 and other concs £15-£6.  Find out more