Writer: Charley Miles
Director: Stef O’Driscoll
Reviewer: Tom Ralphs
Daughterhood explores the relationship between Pauline and Rachel two sisters born almost ten years apart. It adds into the mix a father who is wasting away from an incurable disease and a mother who disappeared almost fifteen years previously. Alongside the two sisters, there are a wide range of male characters who come in and out of their lives as the story moves backwards and forwards from the present day right through to the birth of the younger of the two sisters.
It’s a very ambitious piece and at times it comes close to drowning under the weight of its ambitions and the limitations of a seventy-minute time slot. That it manages to make it through is down to a combination of the dialogue and characterisation in Charley Miles script and the superb acting of Charlotte O’Leary as Rachel, Charlotte Bate as Pauline and Toyin Omari-Kinch as all of the male characters.
The play opens with Rachel returning to the home where Pauline has been caring for her father almost single-handedly for several years. The tension between the two is immediately clear. The reason for the tension and the subtleties that lie beneath it, are revealed more gradually. Pauline has effectively taken on the role of mother to Rachel and carer for her father ever since their mother disappeared. Her life has been put on hold, with her education and career being side-lined while Rachel has flourished and also failed to come back after finishing University.
It makes for a more complex relationship than you would normally have between sisters, adding different layers to the implications of the title ‘daughterhood’. At times, it seems as if too many incidents are being brought into play, and a lengthy monologue where Pauline talks about seeing beached-whales and compares this to her life is adds nothing to the message that has already been more skilfully brought out in the dialogue and interaction between the sisters. It also feels as if the play needs to either shed ten minutes or add twenty to realise its full potential, but this aside it is a very well written, acted and directed piece that explores the subject matter sensitively and convincingly.
Runs until 25 August (not 13, 20, or 24) | Image: Paul J Need