The very brilliant young company Wardrobe Ensemble bring their latest production for pre-Edinburgh previews at Northampton this week, and I implore you to go if you can get tickets tonight (July 26). If not, they’re back in March.
The Last of the Pelican Daughters sees the offspring of the late Rosemary Pelican come back to the family home to celebrate her birthday, discuss the will and inevitably argue and reminisce about life with a woman who fully embraced the life of a freedom fighter feminist.
All of modern life is here: one daughter got her glittering career, another embraced her art, one became the reluctant carer while the youngest travelled as far away as she could from the family. And while it’s hilariously funny, they got me blubbing like a baby about halfway through, tears unexpectedly rolling as nostalgia, grief and loss hit hard.
The set is simple but incredibly clever and the lighting is used to full effect. Wardrobe are super fast storytellers so the action rolls at breakneck speed. If you saw their previous creation Education, Education, Education, you’ll know how creative and innovative this young company is. Director Jesse Jones, thriving after his previous directorial residency at Royal and Derngate, along with co-director Tom Brennan and many of the EEE cast, seem to have gently matured without losing any of the sense of fun that a Wardrobe show brings.
The show is still in development, as the company refines and moulds the show before the Edinburgh Festival, but that didn’t stop it being an edge of the seat, joyous night at the theatre. Try and see it tonight if you can, we’ll be back to see how it develops next March.