When was the last time you saw something, a piece of theatre, a film, a TV programme, that really made you think? Something that made you feel a certain way? Something that made you want to change your attitudes? Tom Hughes’ new play makes us think just that, leaving each audience member with an individual impact.

Daughters of the Sun is the latest play by Offie winning director and writer Tom Hughes, opening at Camden People’s Theatre on 13th November 2018. The ‘almost entirely unrehearsed’ show draws on themes of feminism, hope and music and takes inspiration from Maxim Gorky’s Children of the Sun. We watch as performer Rebecca Brewer and musician Beth Higham-Edwards take us from past to future within the enclosing space of the theatre.

The intimate studio space heightens the personal nature of this production, carried by the two women, making it very much a play about women and artists by women and artists for women and artists. Posters on the walls featuring names such as Sylvia Pankhurst, Beyoncé, Maya Angelou and other female icons have been created by Brewer and Edwards. These posters, the performers and the themes touched on throughout create a great sense of female-empowerment and pride channelled into the dialogue.

Interestingly, the unrehearsed nature of the show was refreshing. Brewer’s direct conversational approach to the audience seemed more authentic, raw and personal, perfect in the studio space of Camden People’s Theatre. However, moments of the personal address were limited with so much of the performers’ lines being read off of a script, almost creating a detachment to her statements, lessening their impact.

Edwards’ musicality brought a great lift to the production. Her utilisation of a variety of instruments throughout the play heightened the tension, working in cohesion with Brewer’s address. The musician’s speech to the audience, without script, was particularly moving. Her kind and warming approach encouraged each individual to really use their own imagination explore their connection to and relationship with music.

Although there are moments of this production that seem unclear, it will be interesting to see how Hughes’ play develops and grows over the days of performances. Daughters of the Sun is an exciting and refreshing production that holds the audience in the palm of its hand, encouraging you to think about vulnerability, hope and self-importance.

Reviewer: Jessica Battison

Reviewed: 13th November 2018

North West End Rating: ★★★