A heartwarming ode to the predictabilities of our fathers, Leyla Josephine’s Daddy Drag is a platform for excellent observational comedy about their familiar tropes – and as such, a solid hour of belly laughs.
Daddy Drag is a show about all types of father – but with particular focus on Leyla Josephine’s own. The hour reveals the process Josephine undertook to try to ‘understand him’. All of him. A much more complicated task than she originally expected.
Leyla is by now a well-known Glaswegian poet and performer, and deservingly so. Wrapping significant chunks of audience interaction into proceedings, Daddy Drag allows her comic talent to shine through – we watch as she seemingly improvises her way through ‘unforeseen problems’ to reach ‘unexpected answers’ – and in the process, turning everything into great fun. Indeed, thanks to her comic flair, Daddy Drag promises an hour of belly laughs.
The piece covers most of the familiar ‘father’ stereotypes – barbecuing, fishing, beer-drinking, odd music choice – in a comic fashion, made even funnier by how observational and accurate the punchlines are (I mean, she’s got a point that all fathers really do wear the same sunglasses). But what’s lovely is that Josephine is at no point mean or negative (proven by the number of fathers in the audience laughing their hearts out). The most heartwarming aspect of Daddy Drag is in fact the enormous love for her father with which Josephine explores these patterns of behaviour.
For me, it’s almost the perfect Fringe one-(wo)man show. The scenography is simple but exceptionally multifunctional, and thus full of surprises. The performer has an important story to tell and does so in an accessible manner – largely, as I’ve explained, though humour. Genuine enjoyment is had on both sides, that of the performer and the audience. But unfortunately, at the very end, comes a scene which – for me – almost ruined the beauty of the first 57 minutes. For her last couple of words, Leyla Josephine chooses to make clear (as if it already weren’t) that making a show about fathers is actually impossible, due to the complexity of people and human relationships. Personally, I find this point unnecessary and a tad meager – ending the show with a slight aftertaste of cheesiness that doesn’t seem reflective of, or appropriate considering, anything that’s come before it. Personally, I’d say ‘stay strong/unapologetic’ and let the audience figure out that reality for themselves. Most of us already get it.