[2013035] Insomnia Cat Came To Stay

[2013035] Insomnia Cat Came To Stay

Quiet Little Fox @ The Tuxedo Cat – Blue Room

9:45pm, Wed 20 Feb 2013

There’s a white sheet stretched across the front of the Blue Room’s stage; wrapped within it, seemingly cocooned, was Joanne Sutton. With just her head and arms exposed, she embarked on a monologue that leaves no doubt that she is suffering through the alternating effects of weariness and mania that typically accompany insomnia.

Her insomnia appeared as an unwelcome guest in her home, portrayed in animations that swept across the crisp whiteness of her vertical bed; Sutton’s trapped eyes alternated between wide and weary – crazed and clock-watching – and the edges of her voice did the same. Her cyclical quest for sleep drew me in, creating a rhythm that was almost predictable – but the return to the desperate realisation of the ticking of the clock was always jarring, usually in a creatively delicious way.

There’s no doubting the technical excellence of Insomnia Cat: it’s an incredibly polished production, with the swirlingly hypnotic imagery sweeping across the white sheets within which Joanne Sutton was trapped convincing me that a lot of thoughtful design had led us to this moment. And Sutton herself delivered her monologue with an intensity that demanded my attention; and, whenever the raucous backing music occasionally fired up, she belted through her songs with all the gusto of a rock veteran, her voice gritty and powerful.


…there was something about Insomnia Cat that didn’t gel with me. Maybe it’s because my own experiences with insomnia led me down a very different emotional path to the ones that were being portrayed here; but that really shouldn’t be a problem, should it? Surely I should be able to put my own experiences aside and focus on what was being presented to me, right?

But no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t. I couldn’t help but think that I was being held back from wallowing deep within Insomnia Cat‘s spell; the problem is, I was – am – completely unable to articulate why. And that’s galling for me, because I can see the quality of the work – images and sounds burned into my mind, coupled with words from the wonderful notes from writer Fleur Kilpatrick and director Danny Delahunty – but there’s something within me that stopped me from revelling in it.

(When talking to Kilpatrick over the next couple of days, I was still unable to verbalise where the Cat and I diverged in our paths… but Fleur was ultra-sweet in prompting me for the cause.)

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