Entertainment » Theatre

Daddy

by Gil Kaan
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Jan 11, 2011
Gerald McCullough, Ian Verdun, and Dan Via in Daddy
Gerald McCullough, Ian Verdun, and Dan Via in Daddy  (Source: Ed Krieger)

Daddy. What does this word mean to you? In a gay context it can be a term of endearment from a younger guy to his much older lover. In the traditional sense, it's the primal title of a child's father figure.

The West Coast premiere of Daddy, now happening at the Hudson Mainstage, deftly explores both definitions, and how!

CSI's Gerald McCullouch convincingly portrays Colin, a successful journalist with sexy, grey-streaked hair living in Philly who becomes attracted to a young intern Tee, played with intensity and unpredictability by Ian Verdun.

Rounding out this menage a trois of a cast, Dan Via (also the talented playwright of Daddy) comfortably essays Colin's best friend Stewart. Together they create a compelling portrait of friendship: familiar, easy and effortless. Colin and Stewart express their affection through their everyday actions: getting a diet coke, putting their feet up on the coffee table, ordering the other's favorite Chinese food, and frequently telling the other to "Shut it!" when a playful jibe crosses over the line, no matter how truthful.

The dialogue flows naturally and with great authenticity, and not without some comic delights along the way: "Those who say opposites attract, have never been to a gay bar," "Your jacket would look good with an Asian baby," "Even shallow people know cool is boring."

The opening musical interlude (by Peitor Angell) pleasantly sets the mood for amiable bantering between Colin and Stewart concerning Colin's very late arrival at their friendly gay bar. Approaching from the other side of the bar, the young Tee interrupts their conversation, gushing over meeting his idol Colin, a successful journalist.

By lucky coincidence, Tee is about to begin an internship at the same newspaper Colin writes for. Red flags, anyone?? Despite Stewart's pointed warnings that hooking up with Tee would be ill-advised, Colin easily falls for the much younger man, who quickly practically moves into Colin's modern split-level apartment. Soon, a rivalry develops between Tee and Stewart - each questioning and challenging the other's almost constant presence in Colin's space.

Via's tightly written script teems with provocative questions: Does Stewart have his best friend's interest at heart? Does he have an ulterior motive? Does he have unexpressed feelings for Colin?

As the play unfolds, we begin to share Stewart's concern. Who exactly is Tee and why is he reading Colin's mail, rifling through his desk, snooping through his laptop? Is he a stalker? A blackmailer? Someone working for the anti-gay marriage movement?

That is all of the plot I can reveal, as more might give away the many surprises that abound in this totally involving two-hour play.

Director Rick Sparks guides his cast with an even hand smoothly pacing the action peppered with enough tension to keep the audience involved and curious.

The single set by Adam Flemming ingeniously uses the full expanse of stage to become, alternately, Colin's apartment, Stewart's bedroom, a cozy neighborhood bar, a hospital room and Colin's newspaper office. Francois-Pierre Couture's lighting surprises with it's deliberate under lighting of Colin's office, emphasizes the secretiveness that surrounds the work going on behind his closed door - an interesting effect.

Having hinted at a surprise ending, suffice it to say that it is very satisfying. Not necessarily happy and not necessarily with all the loose ends tied up, but simple, realistic and effortless. Perfect, in other words!

Performances through February 13, 2011. Hudson Mainstage, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood, 90028. Fridays & Saturdays at 8pm; Sundays at 7pm.
For tickets, call (323) 960-7738 or on-line at www.plays411.com/daddy

Gil Kaan
Gil Kaan, a West Hollywood-based freelance journalist, has contributed to media outlets including Genre, Frontiers, Dot Newsmagazine, ReelGay.com, and WestHollywood.com


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