Daddy Drag @ Summerhall

Leyla Josephine gives a heart-wrenching performance in this thoroughly enjoyable show about fathers

Review by Simon Guy | 13 Aug 2019
  • Daddy Drag

Men are encouraged to be emotionally repressed, so relationships with dads can be difficult. Honest discussion about feelings often seems to be replaced with an attempt by dads to play a role of entertainer: repeating their own catchphrases, getting a BBQ going and talking to everyone enthusiastically about what they presume is loved, like fishing. Daddy Drag hilariously captures these moments common to many. 

On a homely set Leyla Josephine, drawn on beard included, portrays presumably a version of her own father through air guitar, jokes and banter. She skillfully involves the audience at times, just enough without it being distracting. These fun scenes are interspersed with more down to earth audio clips from an interview with her mum about her dad. 

At first, the dad listens intently. There are long periods of reflection which, along with the use of comfortable silences, settle you into the mundanity of family life. As the recording points out something amusing or sweet, the Dad offers an occasional facial expression which provokes laughter or sympathy.

Later the Dad starts to become defensive over criticisms being levelled in the interview and argues back, eventually becoming quite angry. This and the constant drinking of cans of lager changes how you feel about him and the audience move from laughing at dad jokes to shock and concern.

When he dies, Josephine spends some time removing the beard and then clothes. She is left to deal with the pieces and the loss. Her performance is moving, heart-wrenching and thoroughly enjoyable. 

Daddy Drag, Summerhall (Cairns Lecture Theatre), until 25 Aug (not 19), 5.45pm, £8-10