Theatre review: Daddy Drag, Summerhall, Edinburgh

Daddy Drag, Summerhall (Venue 26)
Daddy Drag, Summerhall (Venue 26)
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In this solo show, Leyla Josephine drags up as her late father to explore the complex and changing mix of emotions associated with their relationship, from childhood to adulthood, as she learns more about him and about the world.

Daddy Drag, Summerhall, Edinburgh * * *

Josephine’s Dad is an instantly compelling character with his stubble, beer-belly and dressing gown, blokey bonhomie offset by an occasional flinty spark. His opening rap number sets the garrulous, jocular tone nicely. It’s reiterated by two more routines in much the same vein while being rounded out by audio material from Josephine and her mum recounting memories of the man behind the banter.

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Eventually some more intriguingly nuanced, even troubling aspects of Josephine’s father’s life emerge, and there are some moments of tension as the character on stage chafes against the drip of information on the soundtrack; she effectively portrays him starting to founder. But the darker aspects of his life are only glanced at rather than explored in a sustained way, feeling relatively superficial in between the character’s extended introduction and the show’s languorous conclusion. Such a complex life could never be fully accounted for in an hour but, with different pacing, perhaps a more complex, multifaceted impression could have been conveyed.

Until 25 August.

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