Like Father, Like Son? Sorry.
August 5 and 6
Usually when a Fringe show opens with a weak, cringe-inducing gag, my inner voice says “uh-oh….this is going to be a LONG 60 minutes.” But thankfully for Like Father, Like Son? Sorry. the not so funny part was short-lived and gave way to a very humours and smart performance that at different points made me smile, laugh and even snort a few times.
The play (which is really more of a stand-up routine than a traditional narrative) is a one-man show starring British-born Chris Gibbs as he suffers anxiety over his pending fatherhood and then fear after his son is born that he will screw up the whole parenting thing altogether.
The less than stellar opening bit I mentioned finds Gibbs dressed at Marlon Brando’s character Jorel from the movie Superman in the scene where he imparts his baritone wisdom onto the infant superhero. It’s a metaphor for everything Gibbs doesn’t feel he’s qualified for in parenthood and his entry point for talking about just how inept for the role of father figure he feels he is. I think it’s one of those ideas that looked really good on paper but lost its funny once it was acted out.
But as I mentioned, with this short intro over with, the show goes on to more promising material. In what feels like a half scripted, half on the fly delivery, Gibbs tells stories of his background as a performer and how this surely isn’t something his son will be proud of. There are many digressions here away from the parenthood issue focusing instead on Gibbs’ personality quirks and funny situations he’s found himself in. These types of digressions continue throughout the show and are some of the best moments of the performance.
Back on the fatherhood track, Gibbs tells a very well-crafted and comical story about the actual birth of his child via C-section which he refers to as “the scheduled miracle of life”. The situation gets funnier and funnier and the audience is rewarded with the punch line scene of Gibbs’ new son trying to breast feed off his dad’s hairy exposed chest.
Finally we get to the talking years were kids have no verbal boundaries, which Gibbs describes as walking around with little Ids all the time. This is juxtaposed to his own shyness in a bit that to me was the funniest part of the whole show. So funny that it sealed my belief that you don’t need to be a parent or even like kids to laugh out loud at this show.
There have been many great comedic attempts to address fatherhood from Bill Cosby’s stand-up routine to the men on Modern Family. While Gibbs’ show doesn’t necessarily offer up any new material in the comedic fatherhood lexicon, he does being a fresh take on it. When mixed with stories of his own life, and performed with his energetic yet accessible delivery, Like Father, Like Son? Sorry. is a funny and thoroughly enjoyable way to spend an hour at the Fringe.
For the guys – Whether you are a dad or not, Gibbs will have you laughing out loud with his own personal stories and his questioning of what type of man it takes to be a good father. SEE IT
For the girls – Again, regardless of whether you are a parent, you will love Gibbs’ anecdotes. Plus the comedic window on how a man approaches all things pregnancy and kids is sure to catch your interest. SEE IT
For the occasional theater goer – Gibbs’ has great timing and the show is solidly funny throughout. A light and enjoyable time in the theatre. SEE IT
For the theatre junkie – Despite sometimes veering into the hackneyed or over playing a line, Gibbs is a very talented performer with some extremely funny material to share. SEE IT