Charlotte Josephine’s new play Pops explores the relationship between father and daughter within the confines of family routine. Pops sees an extraordinary relationship created between Sophie Melville and Nigel Barrett.
Directed by Ali Pidsley, the two characters create more than a poor relationship between father and daughter. This is beyond the stereotypical arguments and silences. This takes in the physicality of the inner hurt caused in a breakdown of relationship.
There is beauty in the techniques evoked to demonstrate the passing of time. Some are the moments which define each day, others are those which create the bond. That time is spent, real time, in the act of making a cup of tea reflect the focus on building a relationship. The acts which bond us and the mundanity which in accepting can break us. The underpinning soundscape by Kieran Lucas add successfully to this ambience, never comfortable and at times, over-powering.
In this the actors demonstrate their strength. Enabling the successful use of signals- the twitches, the glances- each underpinning the moments of this play which explore the relationship of parent and child.
And it is the energy of the two actors which remains when you have walked away. Jennifer Jackson translation of this as movement enable the actors to create the brutal force of words unspoken along with the physical force when words can’t be held.
Whilst the play is about a father and daughter caught in a cycle of addiction, that this is not explored verbally or even mentioned, makes it challenging. As audiences pick up plays at the Edinburgh Fringe on the spur of the moment means that without knowing the context it is difficult to appreciate it. It feels as though the onus is on the audience to read between so many lines. Trying to understand how this relationship came to breakdown and has developed to the point we become spectators.
Pops is a challenging production. It leaves so much to be unpicked, to explore. How do we get into places where a relationship which should mean so much are so full of pain and hurt?
Pops is at the Assembly Roxy as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. You can see the production at 18.35 until Sunday 25th August (excl. 12th).
Disclosure: This review is part of media accreditation for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe through the Network of Independent Critics. All views and opinions contained are my own.