My Dad's Gap Year Review
Updated: Sep 28, 2019
The show opens with the role reversal of the 18 year old son telling his alcoholic console-game playing father to tidy himself up and go get a job to sort his life out. His father tells his son he needs to spend his gap year mincing around with bleached hair and popping his cherry. In order to do this his father tricks his son into getting to the airport and whisks him away for a year in Thailand.
From the advertising material I was expecting a silly and frivolous comedy with a side of heart warming story. However, it becomes a much more serious story about addiction and relationships than anticipated.
The story mainly centres on Will and his relationships with those around him, his plans to grow-up while also focusing on his childlike desire to get his parents back together, which impacts his view of his Dad’s girlfriend. Alex Britt is excellent in this role and perfectly displays Will’s innocence and nervousness. As the story develops he convincingly portrays how the character changes through these incidents. The boyfriend (Matias) Will goes on to find in Thailand is played by Max Percy (he shows the abs that the advertising hints at). He infuses the role and show with great energy and fun and his freedom is a perfect juxtaposition to Will’s anxiety.
Adam Lannon is the alcoholic Dad who takes his son away. The journey is more for himself and his wants than for his son and his selfishness is clear throughout the show. While away he meets Mae (Victoria Gigante) who tries to help and take care of him. Victoria plays this role beautifully and is much underused.
It’s fabulous to see Michelle Collins as Will’s mother and she truly makes the role her own bringing a wonderful warmth to a character that goes on her own personal journey through the production.
Each of the characters goes on a journey, for some it’s literally as well as figuratively. However, towards the end of the production there are many unanswered questions and you’re left wondering where each of the characters are headed. This feels unintended due to the limited time available (there is no interval) and there is a lot of story left to tell. A lot of the deeper issues are not dealt with adequately and are only superficially presented here. This is mainly because there are so many strands to the story and there isn’t time to finish any of these. In particular there is a lot hinted at with Mae and Matias but neither gets to fully tell their story.
Having said that the script is funny with some sharp lines throughout the show, the acting is superb and, despite a weak start, keeps you engaged throughout.
It’s an enjoyable night at the theatre and it gets a 3 Laura Michelle-Kelly rating.
The show runs at the Park Theatre until February 23rd and tickets can be bought here: https://www.parktheatre.co.uk/whats-on/my-dads-gap-year