My Dad’s Gap Year at Park Theatre
My Dad’s Gap Year is an ambitious project with some decent acting and good production values which should guarantee a somewhat enjoyable watch. The setup, too, while not particularly original – it could almost stem from a teenage comedy – leaves room for plenty of comedic possibility. However, the play is too inconsistent in its tone, the humour is only occasionally successful and the themes feel too hammered in, making the production as a whole a bit of a let-down.
The plot follows Dave (Adam Lannon) – an alcoholic suffering from a midlife-crises – who persuades his son William (Alex Britt) – a severely stuck-up, homosexual killjoy using his gap year to start a career in marketing – to take a trip to Thailand to experience some fun. There, Dave starts a relationship with Mae (Victoria Gigante) – a trans woman who runs a bar – and William enjoys his first sexual encounters with Matias (Max Percy), a young architect.
From then on, the focus shifts onto exploring the themes from the setup – and there are frankly too many. Alcoholism, drug abuse, homosexuality, transsexual rights, family tensions, generational conflict – and all this during a mere 90 minutes of runtime. It’s hardly surprising that the show, for all its drama, never really seems to lead anywhere. The story stalls and feels stretched out after just an hour, and the characters don’t enjoy any decent development – the exception being William, who at one point suddenly indulges in excessive hedonism.
This is quite a pity, since the actors all do a decent job of delivering what little the script has to offer. The minimalistic production by director Rikki Beadle-Blair, too, fulfils its purpose entirely, making this a very good-looking experience which begs to be enjoyed. But the play’s tone is too jarring, with no good transitions between the moods. At one point the viewer is enjoying a comedic scene, which then suddenly turns into moralising preaching, followed by an attempt at tear-jerking drama.
If only the comedy were good enough to save the writing, My Dad’s Gap Year would be much more entertaining. As it is, the humour only occasionally succeeds, making the whole thing rather tedious to watch. A frustrating end-result, considering the strong potential of the production as a whole.
Photo: Pamela Raith
My Dad’s Gap Year is at Park Theatre from 30th January until 23rd February 2019. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.