Book & Lyrics by Robert More
Musical Direction by Tom Doyle
Directed by Robert More
Choreographed by Amy Wright
Musical direction by Tom Doyle
Performed by Desirée Beausoliel, Eddie Glen, Mike Nadajewski, David Rosser
Victoria Playhouse Petrolia
May 24 to June 11, 2005
Reviewed by Mary Alderson

Playhouse Artistic Director presents his own work

Robert More has kicked off his second season as artistic director of Victoria Playhouse Petrolia with a musical of his own creation. As author of both the book and the musical lyrics of “Dads”, More knew this would be a ‘fun’ way to start the summer fare.

“Dads” is the story of three new fathers – each a bit of a caricature, but that’s what makes the many laughs. There’s the yuppie-type business dad, the hard-hatted construction-worker dad, and the proper professor dad. All three fathers are thrust into unemployment and end up staying at home with the new babies, while their wives go back to work. Of course, chaos ensues when the new dads are stretched and stressed about being stay-at-home “moms”, while pretending everything’s under control and it’s all OK.

And here’s where the fun begins – each man has a very different wife, but they are all played by the same actress, Desirée Beausoleil. If nothing else, this production is entertaining, just by watching Beausoleil change characters and costumes. In addition to the three wives, she plays a doctor, a psychiatrist, a flamenco dancer and many others, too numerous to mention. The wives are “real”, while the other characters are basically figments of the various dads’ imaginations. Kudos to Beausoleil for keeping all her parts straight and pulling off the attitudes and accents.

Eddie Glen excels as the mild professor dad, who really wants to be a stud in the bedroom. Glen steals the spotlight (which wasn’t an easy feat on opening night… more about that later) with his over-the-top faces and oh-so-sexy dance moves very reminiscent of Mike Myers as Austin Powers. You’ll recognize Glen from his current TV ad promoting Casino Rama. He’s an area favourite, playing Sancho in Man of LaMancha, last summer’s hit at Huron Country Playhouse, and Charlie Brown at the Grand Theatre a few years ago.

Mike Nadajewski (who played Laurie in VPP’s Christmas show, Little Women) is the construction dad. Laughs abound in the testosterone song, where he is concerned about his manhood, while his wife works as a waitress in a country and western bar.

David Rosser is the slightly snobby business dad, who used to be a gourmet cook. When he can no longer find time to cook and won’t admit he’s overwhelmed with the baby’s care, he starts ordering in gourmet dinners. It is delightful to watch Rosser’s transition as he learns to accept reality.

Choreographer Amy Wright deserves credit for taking three men (not matching in size or demeanour) and making them into a chorus. The song and dance numbers, with themes such as colicky babies, are hilarious.

Unfortunately, technical difficulties marred opening night. A thunderstorm just before curtain time caused the electrical power to blink and the lighting program was apparently erased from the computerized system. The house lights were left on for the performance, and a spotlight was aimed on the stage, so the audience was unable to enjoy the planned lighting and didn’t get the full effect of the lit children’s building blocks. Obviously this will be fixed before further productions.

“Dads” continues with eight shows a week at Victoria Playhouse Petrolia until June 11. Call the box office at 1-800-717-7694 or (519) 882-1221 for tickets.


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