By: Sandi Durell
If you’re interested in hearing about how little 3 year old Nicola is doing in pre-school, and such, then Peter Parnell’s take about gay fathers’ trials, tribulations and relationships is just the thing for you. This dramedy has two sets of married couples comparing, sharing, complaining and wondering where their youth, sexual desire and energy have gone. Meeting at an upscale restaurant in NYC are rather well-to-do Rob (Patrick Breen), a psychiatrist, married to Alan (John Benjamin Hickey) a journalist (writing an article about a supposed ‘fidelity gene’ and trying to get a book published) – both middle aged fathers of Nicola who seems to have more of an affinity for Rob, her biological and more nurturing father, which torments Alan.
Their younger friends, with whom they’re dining, uptight Scott (Stephen Plunkett), a successful Wall Street type, and sexy Jason (Alex Hurt), a painter, have two children (a thorn in Rob’s side as he’d like to have another if only Alan would acquiesce), and so the conversation is about caregivers, vacationing on Fire Island as they share photos and talk about getting their kids together for play-dates. All very middle-class.
Rob and Alan are friends with a married straight couple with kids, Michael (John Pankow), a theater producer, and over-involved mother Serena (Kellie Overbey), busily orchestrating her childrens’ lives, seemingly caring more about them than her husband. Michael admits to Alan that he’s having an affair with an actress, loudmouth Julia (Tammy Blanchard) whom he met at the playground.
Jason, who admittedly has a sex addiction, has been given a green light by Scott to engage in extra-marital relations until Scott can’t take it any longer, exploding while vacationing on Fire Island with Rob, Alan, their respective kids and caregivers.
Alan, who keeps himself fit, working out with a young sexy trainer 3 times a week, is frustrated admitting he doesn’t “feel gay anymore. Not in the way I used to feel” – – so he’s easy prey for Jason’s advances, eventually admitting his infidelity to Michael.
Gay or straight, the problems are the same, which isn’t news to any of us straight folks who have raised children, spent exhausted hours, wondering where our sex lives have gone, some managing to survive while others didn’t and wound up in divorce. However, now that the gay community is experiencing their first round of marriage, children and divorce, they’ve finally reached the pinnacle of how wearying daily married life and raising kids can be.
So, nothing new, which tends to elicit some audience chuckles or moments of depression depending what life has offered up. In spite of some of the boredom listening to a lot of chatter about children, Scott Ellis has pumped up the glib dialogue and there are enough laughs to go around, along with a major amount of putting on our psychoanalyzing caps.
It all happens on wonderfully designed moveable platforms that zip in and out – the scenic design by John Lee Beatty
By the way, the title is simple as explained by Alan to Jason: Nicola’s first four words were “Dada for Rob, Woof for dog, Papa for me, hot for the radiator.”
Dada Woof Papa Hot at Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, 150 West 65 St., NYC 212 501-3100 www.lct.org one hour, 35 minutes no intermission, thru January 3, 2016.
Photos: Joan Marcus