The Last of the Pelican Daughters – Review

The Last of the Pelican Daughters

Four siblings, four daughters. A reunion to celebrate their deceased mother’s birthday. What could go wrong?

The Last of the Pelican Daughters are Joy, Storm, Sage and Maya. Their mother maybe gone but her legacy remains like a weight. It transpires that the reason Joy has asked the sisters to reconvene is not for cheap prosecco. Joy opens the hornets box of asking her sisters to agree what is fair. Their mother’s Will requests the proceeds of the sale of the family home are split ‘fairly’.

The Last of the Pelican Daughters is cleverly and beautifully staged at the Pleasance Courtyard. Focused on a single room within the Pelican family home, the use of projection creates a structure to frame the enfolding story.

Initially we are introduced to the daughters through the stories of their birth. The symbolism of their mother in a red dress begins and continues throughout the play. And this is one of the beautiful elements. Their mother, Rosemary, is a force of nature impacting strongly how each daughter has lived their life. 

Exploring the lives of the daughters sees individuality developed but the feeling of the latch back to their mother. Storm has been Rosemary’s primary carer for the past years; Joy is desperate to become a mother; Sage, an art exhibitor just wants to continue her mum’s ethos of nonconformist; and Maya’s just returned from travelling the world.

There is much humour within the story. Joy has brought her husband, Maya her new boyfriend. Along with the sisters and partners we’re introduced to Granny and her carer, and latterly the younger Pelican brother. Each adding an injection of humour to the play, and another layer to the daughters’ story.

The pace and storytelling in The Last of the Pelican Daughters is astonishing. Much ground is covered in the reunion of family. Not only resolving the settlement of the will, but in resolving each Pelican’s daughters hopes for the future. Based not only on the legacy their mother left, but the hopes they’ve created.

The Last of the Pelican Daughters is surreal, haunting, uplifting and ultimately leaves a feeling of endearment. These aren’t the easiest of family, but there’s no doubting they PeliCan. 

The Last of the Pelican Daughters is at the Pleasance Courtyard as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. You can see the production at 16.40 until Sunday 25th August (excl. 17th).

Disclosure: This review is part of media accreditation for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. All views and opinions contained are my own.

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