This drawing room drama, adapted from a little-known work by Agatha Christie (writing under the nom-de-plume Mary Westmacott), hasn't received a full-scale production since its original run in 1954. Watching Roy Marsden's revival makes one question why it's taken over 50 years to reach the West End.
Starring Jenny Seagrove and Honeysuckle Weeks, A Daughter's a Daughter has all the right ingredients for a gripping evening of theatre that bubbles and crackles, as a mother and daughter spar in a sequence of mental manipulations where the outcome is ultimately a victory for neither.
It's the mid 1940s and Ann Prentice, a widow, falls in love with and plans to marry Richard Caulfield, a man she has known for only a few months. However her daughter Sarah, who is demobbed and returning home after three years' active service, resents the intrusion into what she considers her home, and so does everything she can to prevent the union.
As Sarah, Honeysuckle Weeks admirably demonstrates the pent-up frustrations, fears and insecurities that make her so volatile and conniving. As time passes, her mother, who for the sake of peace and quiet denies the man she loves, comes out of her shell and we see the two swapping roles as the mother, seeking to get some enjoyment out of life, becomes the party animal.
But this is an illusion, as the mirror images reveal their true selves and they end up hating both themselves and each other. The mother finally gets her revenge by letting her daughter marry a cad for money rather than the penniless young man she really loves, who goes to seek his fortune in South Africa.
Jenny Seagrove is superb as Ann, showing us the torments that divided love can elicit; always elegant and warm, she nevertheless has a darker edge as we see her begin to take the upper hand, no longer indulging and excusing her daughter's behaviour but disciplining and controlling her.
The supporting cast are excellent and the period feel is maintained throughout this emotional rollercoaster ride that many of us can relate to. How honest are we with ourselves and others? If we make sacrifices, who do we do it for and why? And when we do, what are the consequences and can we live with them?
The play is a painful journey for many of the characters but certainly one worth making.