Sister My Sister

Given my unqualified admiration for Jean Genet’s The Maids, I’m not very sympathetic to the notion of another playwright going back to the crime in provincial France in the 30s that inspired Genet’s play and trying to wring something more out of it. The story concerns incestuous sisters who work for a tyrannical matron and wind up murdering her. The main contribution of Wendy Kesselman, adapting her play My Sister in the House, is to delve into the unhealthy relationship between the matron and her grown daughter. The actors impart a great deal of neurotic intensity to their roles, but the combination of an American writer, an American director (Nancy Meckler, whose main background is the English stage), and English actors all tackling a very French crime of passion failed to convince me. By and large, this is a stunt, and far too obvious in its telegraphed class contrasts (1994). With Joely Richardson, Jodhi May, Julie Waters, and Sophie Thursfield. (JR)

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