Tag Archives: Alex Britt

My Dad's Gap Year

My Dad’s Gap Year

Park Theatre

My Dads Gap Year

My Dad’s Gap Year

Park Theatre

Reviewed – 1st February 2019



“Although the dialogue is often a bit wooden, there are flashes of cleverness and adept humour. However, the story is as directionless as its protagonist”


Eighteen-year-old, gay, repressed William (Alex Britt) is gearing up for a gap year of work experience at a marketing firm. But his free-spirit, alcoholic, “try-everything-once” father Dave (Adam Lannon) has other plans for him. Dave surprises William with plane tickets to Thailand. Screw work experience; William needs life experience. William is going to take a proper gap year, and Dave is going with him.
My Dad’s Gap Year is a sleek production by design team Sarah Beaton (set and costume), Derek Anderson (lighting), and Benjamin Winter (sound). The stage is a raised, square platform with a pit in the centre. The cold blue and magenta lights reflect on the sterile white stage. It’s a striking, well-executed aesthetic. Whether it serves the story is another question. I’m not fully convinced it does.

The script, by Tom Wright, explores worthy subjects, including the ways alcoholism affects families, and transgender issues. Although the dialogue is often a bit wooden, there are flashes of cleverness and adept humour. However, the story is as directionless as its protagonist. William’s journey to Thailand is something that’s been forced on him. He’s passive. There’s nothing to feel invested in, because there’s nothing he’s trying to do. Dave is equally adrift. They party, they meet people, they try new things – William learns to loosen up, and a twist is revealed about Dave – but it’s a scattering of scenes that don’t feel like they’re adding up to anything. There are big moments of confrontation and melodrama, but because they’re not formed from a building story, we end up watching from a place of detachment.

The problem with audience investment is further exacerbated by the fact that William is unsympathetic. He’s a pious, judgmental, “disrespectful little brat,” as his mother finally calls him. He chastises his mum for not prioritising his needs over her own. He’s abusive and transphobic toward Dave’s Thai girlfriend. Because we aren’t given anything to compensate for William’s unlikability, it’s difficult to care what happens to him.

The two non-English characters rely heavily on cultural tropes: the sexualised, non-monogamous, Spanish Matias (Max Percy), and the Thai “ladyboy” Mae (Victoria Gigante), who speaks in stereotypical broken English. Because Wright doesn’t seem to have any insight into the cultures he’s invoked, his use of them as background for a narrative about a white family feels careless.

At the moment, My Dad’s Gap Year is a pool of characters, backstories, and ideas. If Wright can find the plot, the play will be much stronger.


Reviewed by Addison Waite

Photography by Pamela Raith


My Dad’s Gap Year

Park Theatre until 23rd February


Last ten shows reviewed at this venue:
Distance | ★★★★ | September 2018
The Other Place | ★★★ | September 2018
And Before I Forget I Love You, I Love You | ★★★★ | October 2018
Dangerous Giant Animals | ★★★ | October 2018
Honour | ★★★ | October 2018
A Pupil | ★★★★ | November 2018
Dialektikon | ★★★½ | December 2018
Peter Pan | ★★★★ | December 2018
Rosenbaum’s Rescue | ★★★★★ | January 2019
The Dame | ★★★★ | January 2019


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Our Big Love Story – 2 Stars


Our Big Love Story

Hope Theatre

Reviewed – 22nd March 2018


“only manages to prod at each topic when you want it to punch”


The events of the 2005 7/7 bombings were a tragic, life changing moment for many Britons. Nearly thirteen years later, with distance it is possible to examine how the lives of British Muslims may have altered alongside the willingness for some to engage with more nationalistic tones. Stephanie Silver’s Our Big Love Story is a piece with ambitious questions. These fly between the rise of racial tension to the struggles of a generation bombarded by suffering. Unfortunately, this show at The Hope Theatre ends up rather thin.

The plot threads between two paths. The first follows a group of four teenagers in the lead up to a house party, full of insecurities around relationships and the constant presence of sex. The second moves away to a teacher present at the attack, and his mental health following his difficulties in dealing with his faith in the wake of devastation.

The trickiness comes from the range of topics that Silver puts into her script, thoughts and ideas that are interesting but fail to delve in with enough complexity to provide any real insight. Characters are broad, clear but quite often flat, motivations shifting instantly to move the plot forward sufficiently. This is combined with an arc that fails to earn any of the redemptive qualities it seems to reach for, lumbered by an unforgiveable act that loses any sympathy for all involved.

Calum Robshaw’s direction is functional but bitty, and can get sucked into the stilted nature of some of the scenes with a lack of drive in enough places to propel us forward as an audience. Gemma Bright-Thomas’ minimal design utilises two frames to imaginatively create the tube, partnering with Rose Hockaday’s lighting design to create a number of locations with minimal fuss.

It is a shame because the cast bring moments in which you feel they could shine. Holly Ashman’s Destiny has spark but cannot hold up stiff dialogue in her relationship with Naina Kohli’s Anjum. Similarly, a monologue from Alex Britt’s Jack provides some reasonably engaging insight but is lumbered in clichéd conversation. It is Osman Baig’s Teacher who suffers most, crippled with monologues that fail to release much and interrupt any dramatic flow.

This is a piece that admirably attempts to cover a huge amount, but only manages to prod at each topic when you want it to punch.


Reviewed by Callum McCartney

Photography by Jennifer Evans



Our Big Love Story

Hope Theatre until 7th April



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