‘I WAS one short of a ticket sale from selling out today... and just thinkingto myself, How could I got that extra one person in?” jokes York-born Danyah Miller as her Edinburgh Fringe Festival show Perfectly Imperfect Women looks set to continue her run of success at the event.

The storyteller is really putting herself to the test this year because the one-woman project – which heads to her home city for the perfromance dates of September 14 to 16) - explores the relationships between mothers and daughters and is based on her own life.

“There is danger because you are crossing a fine line. I did consider this when I started and my own mother said, ‘Couldn’t you wait until I’m dead to write this’,” Miller says.

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She works a lot using biographical detail and is one of the course leaders at The International School of Storytelling. “It’s an area I’m really interested in and I was asked by a festival to come up with a story about women and, immeditately, I know I wanted to do a biographical one. That’s how it started. I remember saying to myself, ‘If I’m going to do this, I don’t want it to be a one-off. I want this to develop’. And it just snowballs... and you don’t realise it’s going to offend your mother until too late.”

Miller celeverly responds with “come and see the show” when asked what particular subject troubled her mother in a story which features five generations of Miller women, including her own relationship with her dauther.

“I did tell my mother that it comes with a health warning because I don’t pull my punches, but I asked her to stay to the end because there is a resolution. My mum and I get on really well, but as with many mother-daughter relationships, they are complex. Mother are often doing the best they can with the tools they have and, later I and other mothers, look back and think, ‘Gosh, I could have done that better’,” Miller says.

She has a 26-year-old stepson and a 16-year-old daughter. “Both my daughter and mother have been to see the show on the same day in Hertfordshire. That was hairy and, ironically, both came to see it again in Edinburgh... and we’re still all talking.”

Miller’s delighted that reaction from audiences to Perfectly Imperfect Women includes the comment, “I thought you were telling my story”. The theme explores what drives some females to want to live perfect lives as mothers, daughters, wives, sisters and bread-winners and questions what makes women want to be perfect. There’s also a discovery that some women may have more in common with female bloodline than they care to admit.

Miller premiered I Believe in Unicorn, by Michael Morpurgo, in Edinburgh, in 2013, before touring nationally and internationally. She received an Argus Angel Award for Artistic Excellence at Brighton Festival in 2014 and an Audience Choice Award for Get Creative Family Arts Festival in 2015. She also recently toured Why the Whales Came, again by Michael Morpurgo.

“As well as this play being biographical, it’s also archetypal and universal and touches on those things that affect many of us. People ask me, ‘Is it for me’ and I say, ‘Yes, if you have a mother, it probably is’,” says Miller.

Her own daughter, “Quite a feisty person”, said to Miller: “Mum, why are you featuring women of your age? You can’t do anything about them, but you can save the younger generation so much time, effort and energy, if they come and see the show’. Either teen or 20-year-old friends of hers have come and really loved the show. So, I think it does cross the generations and it is a lovely thing to see with your own mother because there’s a lot of discusion afterwards,” she says.

Miller rates motherhood as the most important job in the world and feels that her voice is among the strongest because women in the 50-60 age group are often caring for ageing parents, while helping children fly the nest and having their pension delayed by anything up to seven years.

“It’s not always a woman doing thar role, but a motherly task is required. Perfectly Imperfect looks at what drives someone like me to want to be perfect and do everything perfectly. It isn’t helped by Governments wanting us to be everything and do everything. It’s that conflict. We know we’re not perfect, but we’re striving in a world driven by social media to tell others what a beautiful life we’re living. It’s a real challenge to find a way to let people know that to fail is really a very good thing. In failure we learn. It’s that paradox where we know and understand later in life, but it’s so important to allow children in schools to not be perfect and explore things in a way where they can be imperfect, make a mess and muck up. And therefore be creative human beings. It’s in the chaos and disorder that creativity often happens,” Miller says.

Her greatest challenge regards the reaction of the sexes to seeing “Women” in the title. “Men seem to think it’s for women because it mentions women and that’s fascinating for me. Plays with men in the title don’t make women think, ‘That’s not for me’. Anything linked to women make men suspect it’s a feminist piece,” she says.

Fortunately, a male visitor in Edinburgh told her he loved the show and was going home to see his mother.

  • Perfectly Imperfect Women York Theatre Royal Studio, September 14-16, evenings 7.45pm, Sat matinee 2pm, Tickets £12, concessions available. Box office: 01904-623568 or http://yorktheatreroyal.co.uk