Theatre review: Daughterhood, Roundabout @ Summerhall, Edinburgh

Daughterhood, Roundabout at Summerhall (Venue 26)
Daughterhood, Roundabout at Summerhall (Venue 26)
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There are nine years of an age gap between sisters Pauline and Rachel, and the differences in every other way couldn’t be more pronounced either.

Daughterhood, Roundabout @ Summerhall, Edinburgh * * *

Pauline has remained at home and cared for their ailing father, his dementia having brought him almost to the end of his life, while Rachel has left home and moved to London, where she works in charity. When we first see them together in the hallway of their family home, the tension is palpable; or rather, Pauline’s quiet blend of envy and fury at the carefree way Rachel lives a life of regulated responsibility is plainly visible to all but her sister.

READ MORE: All of The Scotsman's 5-star reviews from the 2019 festivals

A time-hopping array of flashbacks show Rachel’s (Charlotte O’Leary) own youthful envy of her perfect big sister, and her years of rebellion in order to differentiate herself from her; Pauline’s (Charlotte Bate) awareness of age changing others’ perceptions of her, Rachel’s old friend Jez at first accidentally dismissing her because of her age; and then academia welcoming her (Toyin Omari-Kinch is a chorus of male voices); and the pair’s current major split, their differing opinions of their mother after her affair and departure.

Theatr Clwyd and Paines Plough’s production of Charley Miles’ play initially suffers somewhat from this device, but as the pace calms towards its conclusion, a truthful and emotive portrait of siblinghood emerges.

Until 25 August

David Pollock

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