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Fifty years on, Cathy offered a home...300 miles away

Cathy, Warwick Arts Centre, until February 7

Fifty years ago director Ken Loach's film Cathy Come Home led to the creation of the homeless charity Shelter.

The Cardboard Citizens theatre group came into being 25 years after that although, sadly, their latest update on the situation only goes to show that in this exploitative new world of zero hours contracts, it's still just as easy to fall behind with the rent.

Then to stick your head in the sand before beating it against an unsympathetic wall of council bureaucracy.

The only solution? Jump through a minefield of legal loopholes that just might rule you are making yourself deliberately homeless.

That's the problem for this 21st century Cathy, who refuses to accept the offer of alternative accommodation... 300 miles away.

To be honest this play told me little I didn't feel I already knew.

But what was revelatory to me and the rest of the Arts Centre audience was the opportunity, after the interval, to re-wind some of the scenes and shout out "Stop! There's a better way of handling that situation."

Inevitably, those shouting are invited to stroll down onto the studio stage and ad-lib some some dialogue of their own, with the assistance of the superb four-strong cast of professional actors.

This being the Arts Centre at Warwick University, the well-educated crowd knew how Cathy (played with astonishing clarity by Cathy Owen) could have handled things better with a little help from her local law society.

Not perhaps the immediate first port of call for other audiences viewing this touring production from day centres, hostels, prisons and even underneath the arches.

Cathy and her daughter Danielle (Hayley Wareham) created an absorbing mother and daughter relationship backed up by Amy Loughton playing an astonishing variety of other roles and Alex Jones mopping up all the male parts.

If there are any tickets left tonight (Feb 7) it would be worth trying to see this play - if only for the dazzling quality of the acting.

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