CATS Euripides' Medea was a barbarian witch who helped her husband, Jason, claim the Golden Fleece, only to slay her children after he threw her over for a younger woman. Irish playwright Marina Carr's moody drama isn't a strict retelling but it conjures the essence and psychological complexities of the proto-feminist text. In this version, Hester Swane (Kacey Camp) is a tinker, or Celtic gypsy, loath to flee the 9-mile-square Bog of Cats, where she was born, once her mollycoddled former lover (Joseph Patrick O'Malley) leaves her and their young daughter (Talyan Wright) to wed a prim, propertied daddy's girl (Erin Barnes). Camp captures the fierce loyalty and deep woundedness that drive Hester's devastating choices, starting with her girlhood abandonment by her mother. Director Sean Branney elicits fine performances from his ensemble: Casey Kramer is especially good as the Catwoman, a blind Tiresian seer swaddled in feline pelts and mouse skulls. The fatalism of Greek tragedy is well suited to the backdrop of the Irish midlands, with their mystical superstitions and mire of personal histories. Arthur MacBride's simple set evokes the harsh, brittle landscape with economy. This makes for harrowing, satisfying theater. Theatre Banshee, 3435 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; through Dec. 8. (818) 846-5323,

Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: Nov. 2. Continues through Dec. 8, 2013

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