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Photo credit @ Graeme Braidwood

The Last of the Pelican Daughters, Pleasance Courtyard (Beyond) – Review

Joy, Storm, Sage and Maia are the Pelican sisters. Born over an eleven-year timespan, they're all very different from each other, representing four stereotypical women. Proceedings begin with their introduction to the audience, including detailed information about their birth and the origin of their names. Joy (Kerry Lovell) is career-focused, Sage (Helena Middleton) a creative mind, Maia (Sara Lessore) an adventurer, whilst Storm (Jesse Meadows) hasn't quite yet worked out what she wants to be. Having flown the nest some time ago, Joy, Sage and Maia reunite with Storm in the family home, where the latter has remained to…

Summary

Rating

Good

The family saga of the Pelican sisters is narrated in a quirky play, reminiscent of Wes Anderson's directorial style.

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Joy, Storm, Sage and Maia are the Pelican sisters. Born over an eleven-year timespan, they’re all very different from each other, representing four stereotypical women. Proceedings begin with their introduction to the audience, including detailed information about their birth and the origin of their names. Joy (Kerry Lovell) is career-focused, Sage (Helena Middleton) a creative mind, Maia (Sara Lessore) an adventurer, whilst Storm (Jesse Meadows) hasn’t quite yet worked out what she wants to be.

Having flown the nest some time ago, Joy, Sage and Maia reunite with Storm in the family home, where the latter has remained to care for her mother until her recent passing. This meeting is both an opportunity to celebrate the late woman’s birthday, as well as finalising the sale of the house. Also staying with them are Joy’s husband Darren (Tom England), a quiet and unassuming type, and Maia’s new boyfriend Dodo (Ben Vardy), a very colourful, meditation-obsessed spiritualist.

As the party continues, disagreements start surfacing, with the siblings showing their true colours.  And as they do, some unexpected guests causing havoc within the household. After a long and bumpy night, the family that re-emerges the following morning is a very different one.

There is a distinct Wes Anderson flavour in this tragicomedy devised and performed by The Wardrobe Ensemble. The pastel painted house walls, the quirky characters, the interludes of baroque music and the unlikely plot have the nearly-caricatural style emblematic of the American filmmaker. However, many of its features feel too far-fetched, including the elongated running time, large cast and convoluted plot.

Greatly acclaimed by the audience, The Last of the Pelican Daughters is still a bright and unconventional play, presented by a convincing young company and ignited with many sparks of creative genius. But at a self-indulgent eighty minutes, this boisterous family drama could benefit from a cutback of scenes and characters, without any significant loss in the plot. Its ambition to become an engrossing surrealistic piece will only be achieved by raising the tempo, whilst disposing of marginal roles such as the grandmother and her carer, as well as one too many uneventful repartees.

Written and created by:  the company
Director: Jesse Jones & Tom Brennan
Producer: The Wardrobe Ensemble / Complicité / Royal & Derngate Northampton
Box Office: +44 (0)131 226 0000
Booking Link: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/last-of-the-pelican-daughters
Booking Until: 25 August 2019

About Marianna Meloni

Marianna Meloni
Marianna, being Italian, has an opinion on just about everything and believes that anything deserves an honest review. Her dream has always been to become an arts critic and, after collecting a few degrees, she realised that it was easier to start writing in a foreign language than finding a job in her home country. In the UK, she tried the route of grown-up employment but soon understood that the arts and live events are highly addictive.