my dads gap year

19 Feb

by Tom Wright
at the Park Theatre
Before I can begin to give my impressions of this play, I have to acknowledge the fact that on press night there were people who stood up at the end and cheered and there were several loud laughs during the performance from certain members of the audience . Quite a few others looked as puzzled as I was.
I looked at the newly printed book they kindly gave me and I could see that it was an actual play – it was published! But to me it seemed like the whole thing seemed improvised – not properly put together. I couldn’t believe in the characters, they didn’t seem real either as ordinary people or as actors in a play. Not a play at all, just a series of incidents with as much nudity,and LGBTQ+ as possible just slotted in. Political Correctness gone crazy. Alcoholism and drug addiction lead to early death. If you are gay, express it without fear. People are people, even if they have a different colour skin or if they are transvestites.
It was set on a series of platforms formed into a hollow white square. When we came in, there was a man (Adam Lannan) sitting in the middle of it, on the ground throwing cans at the audience. One of them hit the man sitting next to me. He was apparently playing a computer game and drinking alcohol. Turns out Dave is an alcoholic with a only a year to live and he is just passing his time away. He is chivved constantly by his estranged wife, Cath (Michelle Collins) and his eighteen year old intelligent but gay and repressed son William (Alex Britt).
The father makes a big decision to enjoy his own last year and bond with his son, hoping he will loosen up by passing a gap year in Thailand.
Dave picks up Mae a lovely young Thai girl (Victoria Gigante) – a transvestite of course – and they become intimate. William meets an attracive young man Matias (Max Percy) He is Thai but brought up in America so conveniently speaks good English and they also go into a special partnership. All the while, Michelle Collins is communicating by phone and skype, and walking round and round the platform in excessively high heels.
It was as if they wanted to get some nudity and virtual sex on the platform and had thrown in as much politically correct items as possible. The result – to me was as dull as most PC things are. It was only interesting that of the LGBT they missed out Lesbian – or maybe that was slipped in somewhere when I was wondering how long I was going to have to sit there. I thought it would never end.
Yet, as I say, there was a standing ovation from part of the audience so it must have theatrical merit.
It could be that I am too much of an old pro to understand something that is new and exciting and worthy of production. Important people had joined in with it, they obviously thought it was a good idea. I found it messy, confusing, clumsy. The people were unlikeable, unlovable and dull. Much less interesting than the many gay,lesbian, alcoholic, trans and foreign people in my own life.
Sorry guys. What more can I say? Go and see it, but don’t blame me if it pisses you off too.

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