My Dad’s Gap Year, 5 Stars

My Dad’s Gap Year
Park 90
30th Jan to 23rd Feb 2019

“This is the story of Dave (Adam Lannon), a dad in mid-life freefall who takes his repressed, gay teenage son William (Alex Britt) on a wild adventure to Thailand to lose his virginity. In the process, Dave finds a love of his own in Thai waitress Mae (Victoria Gigante) who dreams of owning her own bar, and William meets the incredibly charming Matias (Max Percy) who opens his eyes to sex, drugs and everything in-between. However, this is no ordinary summer romance as both William and Dave go on a journey of self-discovery, learning some hard home truths along the way. Michelle plays the role of William’s mother Cath – a woman who embarks on her own journey of self-discovery as she learns how to be
single again.
My Dad’s Gap Year is a wickedly funny and heartfelt story based on true events. With gay love, straight love, trans love, buddy love and father/son love at its core, it’s a dizzying drama of drinking games, beer bellies, newfound freedom and midlife madness.”

Review by Richard Lambert, 5 Stars

Park90 have bravely hosted productions of questionable commercial interest, showing willingness to present shows which may have a specific target audience with uncertain box office returns. Then comes along “My Dad’s Gap Year” with a catchy title and even more flashy marketing artwork.

It’s worked. The show is selling out and bringing them in!

But what are the audiences expecting to see? Benidorm crossed with Hi-de-hi, a dose of Sun Sex and Supicious Parents seasoned with a sprinking of Ibiza Weekender? Well maybe yes, but you should never judge a book by its cover! Yes it does start along these lines, and it is hilarious, but by heck it then delivers so much more!!!

The mainline press may not support such a surprise wrapping paper, and the Daily Mail brigade really won’t understand why anyone could have a problem with alcohol since Devil’s spawn is all about drugs. If you’re a Daily Mail reader this play is not for you! But the standing ovation and response from the public members of the audience shows who this play speaks to! With Rikki Beadle-Blair in the Director’s Chair, of course social issues, injustice, bullying and mental health issues will project with clarity. Live theatre has a wonderful opportunity to educate and this is it!

How do addictions start? It can sometimes just be one trigger. Irresponsible self-destructive behaviour can often be a coping strategy reaction to an event. If in the short term it helps, then it will be repeated. But the self-destructive behaviour, such as drinking, can make it even more difficult to cope in the first place, creating a vicious circle whilst not solving anything. It can spiral out of control.

So, what’s the relevance here? Tom Wright has written a play which alongside being funny, overturns prejudiced expectations and highlights such issues. The Dad (Adam Lannon) in the Title is an alcoholic. He’s already lost his marriage to Cath (Michelle Collins). He wants to escape his problems – his failing health, his marriage, and flies to Thailand for a holiday. However, you can’t run away from some troubles. He meets and falls in love with a trans-woman Mae (Victoria Gigante) and promises to give up drinking, but as an addict he can’t, so he drinks behind his new lover’s back, lyingto her, and  breaking her trust. Love is not enough.

The rather conventional son, William (Alex Britt), meets a well adjusted young man, Matias (Max Percy), and is introduced to gay nightclubs, gay saunas, and recreational drugs. But what is only recreational and under control for Matias consumes William as he turns to drugs and away from conventional society, losing himself to escape his reality. Even with support and love from Matias, Mae and Cath their efforts in helping father and son are futile and they can only observe, impotent to help.

Victoria Gigante is absolutely outstanding as Mae. A trans-woman who would be known as a “lady-boy” in Thailand. Her gentle nature, kindness and smiles hide the tenacity, struggles and hardships needed to move to Bangkok and work in a bar. Assumptions made about her morals are over-turned and she shows determination and ambition for herself and those she loves.

The characters are truly exposed – nobody gets off lightly. They’re all struggling, and none are well-rounded and totally selfless. Rikki’s final tableau setting is such an enduring powerful visual statement.

Sarah Beaton has designed a fashion show 4-sided catwalk playing to the audience on all 4 sides. The central dropped section can be a kitchen, a bed, a nightclub, the beach – it can be wherever we want it to be. The pace and physicality of the catwalks allows for the characters energies on display to all – there’s nowhere to hide. The laughs are plentiful, there are hilarious one-liners, but anyone who’s loved an addict will know and understand the emotional wrench within this play.

This very modern play has the most brilliant cast and story board and is probably ahead of its time. This is the 1st time the play has been performed but undoubtedly now part of our theatrical landscape.

A fast paced emotional journey that will educate, entertain and connect on many levels.


Further Information:

Alexandra Da Silva and Neil Eckersley in association with MC Productions and Park Theatre
present the World Premiere of
By Tom Wright
Directed By Rikki Beadle-Blair
Set and Costume Design by Sarah Beaton
Lighting Design By Derek Anderson
Sound Design By Benjamin Winter
Park Theatre, London

Park Theatre
Clifton Terrace
Finsbury Park
London N4 3JP

Mon – Sat Evening 19.45
Thu & Sat Matinees 15.15
Young Patrons
30 Jan – 6 Feb
Tickets £10*

Previews £14.50
Standard £18
Concessions £16.50
Buy 10 tickets get the 11th free

Box office
020 7870 6876