Raton Laveur

A structurally good but thematically concerning domestic drama

★★
theatre review | Read in About 2 minutes
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Raton Laveur
Published 12 Aug 2017

Phil and Lily have recently relocated from Australia to Canada, and Phil’s not coping well at all. His mental health has deteriorated to the point that he’s developed paranoid delusions about the family of raccoons living behind the crêperie where he works. Now his flat is covered in blood. Something, or someone, is dead.

What begins as something more like a post-apocalyptic zombie story takes a more serious turn when it’s revealed exactly what is rolled up in the blood-soaked living room rug. As Lily tries to help Phil figure out the next step, the consequences of untreated, severe mental health issues transform this play from dark comedy to into something much more tragic. All subsequent jokes feel totally inappropriate within this new context.

It’s also disturbing that there is hardly any discussion about Phil’s mental health. Instead, the story focuses on what he’s going to do to escape the consequences of his actions. There is no mention of doctors, medication, therapy or anything else. The plot is male-centred and veers dangerously close to misogyny. Phil’s inability to take responsibility for his actions, especially considering what is revealed to have actually happened, is the biggest problem with the script. Despite these major thematic concerns and the implication that Phil did nothing wrong, the performances are consistently good and the narrative is focused and well-structured. But the production could certainly reflect on its patriarchal content.