Daughterhood by Charley Miles seeks to tell the story of two sisters separated by nine years of age and half a decade lived separately, coming back together to try and work out who is to blame for the break down of their family unit. Pauline, older, sees herself as the rock who held things together after their mother walked out, and who has been caring for a severely disabled father alone since. Her sister Rachel left for University and then graduated. Pauline expected her to come home and take some of the weight off her shoulders, but instead Rachel got a job lobbying parliament on the NHS and drug charges. She’s making a difference to the big picture.
It was sweet and interesting but it never seemed to go anywhere.
The show has a disjointed narrative structure, with scenes taken from the present day and interwoven with the girls' history together, and their history apart which influences how they confront each other. It’s very effective in creating tension, and leaving the audience constantly wondering where the narrative is going. However, only one actor (Toyin Omari-Kinch) playing every single other part in the story, with no costumes or props, becomes hard to follow. Omari-Kinch is fantastic, a broad range of his vocal and physical performance chops demonstrated, but there is only so much one actor can do. The drama did become somewhat turgid after a full hour. Pauline, portrayed by Charlotte Bate, maintained a single-note expression of twisted anxiety for the entire show, which did not contribute to any sort of character arc. Rachel, portrayed by Charlotte O’Leary, had a much more energetic and dynamic characterisation, although she also had a much more energetic and dynamic character.
The main issue I had with the piece was it was sweet and interesting, but it never seemed to go anywhere. We constantly moved back and forward in time with no exposition or explanation. Snapshot theatre is some of my favourite, but this didn’t really constitute as snapshot – it moved too quickly to allow us to start to empathise with the cast. Overall I left feeling I had seen a nice play, with solid acting, but nothing to write home about.