Pros: Some wonderful comedy moments, especially Sofia’s interaction with the men in the audience.
Cons: Utilising so many presentation techniques makes the show very busy and sometimes a little disjointed.
Our Fathers ended a UK tour with a brief run (11th-14th June) at Battersea Arts Centre. It tells the story of three young adults and how their fathers affected, and continue to affect, their lives.
The three performers play themselves, with Mike Tweddle being the lynchpin along with his boyfriend Bert Roman and flatmate Sofia Paschou. Mike has received an email request from a friend of a friend asking him to father a child. Having assumed that this would be something he would never get to experience, he’s excited about the prospect. Bert is less enthusiastic and is still dealing with the fact that his father blames his homosexuality on his dance career. Sofia is Greek and desperate to find a partner but her larger than life father overshadows her and gets in the way of any prospective suitors.
To bring these stories to life, the Babakas company employ dance, physical theatre, video projection and shadow work. It’s an impressive multi-faceted production but at times it feels so busy that it threatens to lessen the impact of the subject matter. Some of the transitions feel a little clunky and at times performers voices are drowned out by loud music.
On the plus side there are plenty of laughs – Bert’s dancing around the stage in his underpants, and his Dylan-esque series of angrily written placards. Sofia engages with the audience brilliantly; blatantly interviewing men and even pulling up a table to a man in the front row and having wine served. But the influence of her father looms large – literally – depicted by a Sopranos style silhouette as her attempts at having any romantic relationship are scuppered.
The production shines a light on the realisation that a parent, who you have relied on as a trusted source of information and as a moral compass, can be wrong. How do you go about adjusting to that and moving forward with the relationship? A lot of storylines and styles are packed into the seventy minutes; some of it works well and some of it less so but it leaves you thinking about your own relationships so food for thought at least.
Devised and written by: Babakas
Choreographer: Annie Pui Ling Lok
Director: Juan Ayala
Producers: Pippa Frith, Thomas Wildish & Mike Tweddle
Show Info: This run has now finished but further information can be found at http://www.babakas.org/shows/our-fathers