Theatre Review: ROUNDABOUT Festival 2019 – DAUGHTERHOOD – Albert Park, Broughton

Charlotte Bate and Charlotte O'Leary in DAUGHTERHOOD

Charlotte Bate and Charlotte O’Leary in DAUGHTERHOOD. Photo Credit: Rebecca Need-Menear

Opening the ROUNDABOUT Festival at Albert Park in Broughton, DAUGHTERHOOD is a powerful and ferocious play about the bonds that tie us

3 out of 5 stars

A bright yellow dome in the middle of a park certainly attracts attention. The Paines Plough ROUNDABOUT is the UK’s first-ever fully accessible and portable plug-and-play theatre. Using just an Allen key, the spaceship-style theatre is easily transported on two trailers and assembled in each place.

Paines Plough launched ROUNDABOUT in 2014 and is now collaborating with Salford’s The Lowry for a fifth year to bring the thrill of live performance into the heart of communities across Salford.
This year, the 160 seater ROUNDABOUT, which as the name suggests is in the round, will present three brand new plays from three British writers – ON THE OTHER HAND WE’RE HAPPY by Daf James, DEXTER AND WINTER’S DETECTIVE AGENCY by Nathan Bryon and DAUGHTERHOOD by Charley Miles.

Last year, ROUNDABOUT welcomed over 1,500 people to the big yellow dome in just four days. This year The Lowry and Paines Plough is working closely with local community groups and Salford Council to create an even more vibrant and all-inclusive programme. Alongside the three performance premieres, the award-winning Hull-based company Middle Child will present THE CANARY AND THE CROW, a gig theatre piece about a working-class black kid who’s been accepted to attend a prestigious grammar school.

Popping up in Broughton at Albert Park for the opening night, ROUNDABOUT opened with a quick open mic gig by Jenny Berry and The Dry Open Mic’ers. Spoken word poetry about prison – with conveniently added sound effects of sirens from the road outside – quickly had the audience applauding. A mixture of social history, poetry, comedic stories of local life in Manchester and Broughton followed by the writing club that meets in Broughton to share their experiences and words.

After a short interlude, the main performance began. Performed by just three actors, DAUGHTERHOOD, is a story of family difference. One sister stayed at home to care for a Dad that’s ill. The other set out to “make a difference”, helping in a more outward showy way. Returning to her childhood home, Rachel is confronted by the difference both between herself and her older sister, and also the progressive society of London and the slow pace of life of a small town. It’s a huge gap, each sister telling their story of how, whilst both helping in their own way, both have missed out on what they wanted to achieve.

Moving backwards across the stage to switch between present and past, the action moves quickly to show how life has shaped the Daughters. The story by Toyin Omari-Kinch transitions between characters extremely well to portray a number of different people who help mould the girls’ life and decisions. Toyin is powerful and his performance makes the play, which at times, feels a bit whiny and angsty.

Charlotte O’Leary’s interpretation of the Younger sister is funny, making light of a woman who is always trying to be like her perfect big sister whilst being seen as a person in her own right. Charlotte Bate’s Older sister is strong but at times becomes irksome. In a scene with the neighbour who delivers some food, she could be more coy and flirty which would bounce off the nature of the words from Jez and also show a side of her that would accentuate her downtrodden life as a carer. The father’s homecoming scene could also be removed, alluding to him in the other room rather than bringing him out for a flashback, which ruined the allusion.

DAUGHTERHOOD is a powerful, ferocious play about the bonds that tie us, and how we don’t imagine that we are both trying to achieve the same things in our own way, but maybe don’t show it. By sitting down and speaking frankly you realise that life binds us and shapes us and you probably are on the same journey just dealing with it in and individual way.

DAUGHTERHOOD opened the ROUNDABOUT Festival on 5 September 2019.