Georgia Brown’s debut play Daddy’s Girl was a heart-warming vignette of two people trapped in very different circumstances. Eliza (Georgia Brown) is a millennial, struggling to figure out life from the confines of her room, while her dad, Terry (Mark Wingett), ‘Britain’s Most Dangerous Armed Robber’, has been locked away in prison for years. Reconnecting via phone calls and occasional visits, Terry tries to re-acquaint himself with Eliza’s life. Daddy’s Girl proved to be an hour of rapid-fire repartee and genuinely engaging performances, resulting in an enjoyable debut.

Wingett’s Terry had real depth of character, with some witty and punchy lines, and the chemistry between him and Brown’s Eliza was palpable. Both actors nailed the comedic timing, which was made even more evident by the genuine laughs garnered from the audience. The humour in the script, between Terry and Eliza, and scenes when they talked to themselves, was at times a little heavy-handed. But, on the whole, it was handled beautifully. There was an attempt to include something with true pathos when Terry attempts suicide which, given the time constraints, worked better than one might have imagined. Wingett’s performance in this moment was truly moving to watch, and Brown’s reaction relayed a real sense of urgency. Yet it still left much to be desired. More time should have been spent on those scenes to truly capitalise on that poignant moment.

‘For a debut play, Georgia Brown has created something to be proud of’

The main problem with this piece was that it was too short to get any real emotional traction, but the characters were remarkably well-developed for the hour they had on stage. Brown’s quirky realism was a pleasure to watch and drew a lot of laughs, yet there were also moments that seemed a little rushed and forced. For example, there was a moment where she bursts into song and, while her voice is lovely, it did seem a tad superfluous with no added value. In the same vein, there were moments of multi-roling where both Brown and Wingett took on other characters to play against each other. These moments had so much potential, especially as both actors were more than capable of making this character shift, yet they felt hurried and wedged in for the sake of a hasty moment of character development.

For anyone that hasn’t been to the Vaults, I do recommend going and seeing something there – the underground performance space is an exciting place to visit. As it is literally under the busy tracks of Waterloo station, there is a fairly regular sound of trains rattling overhead. Instead of distracting and detracting from the action, however, they somehow managed to add to the character and atmosphere of the performance.

For a debut play, Georgia Brown has created something to be proud of. Though it could have benefited from another half hour and more solid character development, it is a very good stepping stone to a longer performance. The pace didn’t drop for a moment, resulting in a fully captivated audience and genuine interest in this heartfelt peek into the lives of two very different characters, who were not only joined by their familial connection to each other but also their quest for meaning. Daddy’s Girl was fun and brimming with potential, which I sincerely hope Brown will continue to pursue and expand upon.

Maddie Andrews
@Mads_Andrews

Image: Chloe Wicks

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