8   +   10   =  

A loud and proud rollercoaster through modern love in sunny Thailand, My Dad’s Gap Year is full of quick-change role reversals, risqué jokes and angry confrontations. A post nuclear family play their woke awkwardness for laughs and learn to find love a long way from home.

Dave is dad, a boisterous alcoholic trying everything once. For the purposes of this play that means taking his gay son William on a gap year to Bangkok and encouraging him to loosen up while estranged wife Cath stays at home, nervous and excited to see how this madcap scheme pans out. Both boys stumble into romance on the beach; Dave with trans woman Mae and William with Spanish-Thai Matias. The four move between bars, clubs and apartments trying to figure out what the next level of their relationship might be. Meanwhile, Cath gets dragged away from her growing independence in the UK by increasingly messy phone updates.

On a simple white square set the lighting, soundtrack and cast work to create a world of sun, sea and tunes. With some abrupt shifts in tone, the action races through a gap year in ninety minutes. There are no heroes or villains, just ordinary people working stuff out with lewd one-liners and a bit of yelling. Adam Lannon gives Dave plenty of bohemian charm and a dash of nastiness, while Alex Britt’s William does a very smooth shift from utterly strait-laced to totally out of control dance machine. Max Percy as Matias and Victoria Gigante as Mae offer feisty support, prodding the chaps to explore different sorts of love. Michelle Collins has fun making Cath the sensible centre of a mixed up family while trying to dig out a new bit of shiny happiness.

Delving into modern LGBTQ+ themes, Tom Wright has written a lively script that goes to innuendo and beyond while also leaving room to reflect on gender, sexuality and family bonds.

★★★

My Dad’s Gap Year is on at Park Theatre until 23 February 2019

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