EDINBURGH 2019: BWW REVIEW: THE LAST OF THE PELICAN DAUGHTERS, THE WARDROBE ENSEMBLE, Pleasance Courtyard
Theatre company The Wardrobe Ensemble have developed this theatre production with Complicité, in association with Bristol Old Vic and the Royal & Derngate Northampton.
A family reunion to celebrate their late mother's birthday unearths the truth surrounding the siblings' feelings of their past and hopes for the future.
Their mother, Rosemary Pelican, was fiery, free-spirited and fiercely loyal to her children, but now, in an almost modern-day King Lear they must decide what to do with her assets. Not as simple as it sounds, as the will is a touch vague on how to divide the inheritance.
The play focuses mainly on the relationship between the four Pelican sisters and their unfolding fractious behaviour. Their family bond often reveals itself in the form of secret handshakes, choreographed dances and the inimitable words of wisdom passed down: "You're a Pelican, not a Peli-can't!".
With a supporting cast of a husband, brother, granny, nurse, lawyer and a self-proclaimed 'life partner' the play buzzes with life and there is plenty of opportunity for fascinating interplay. The set is a vision of pink walls, an LP player and a looming bedroom, echoing the kooky nature of the deceased mother.
The lighting and sound complement the action, particularly well during some quirky flashbacks. Here is where the production shows itself to be a contemporary, ensemble piece utilising all members of the cast, to move us forward between scenes.
Themes of grief and greed linger, with a dark element. The show flyer gives us an insight into the work, stating: "In folklore, pelican mothers feed their young on their own blood."
The Last of the Pelican Daughters is stylish, intricate and thoughtful.
Catch this new play at the Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh until 25 August: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/last-of-the-pelican-daughters