Dads in Bondage Breathes Enthusiasm, Delights

Left to Right: Kirk (Eric Wigston), Charles (Doug McKeag), and Joey (JP Thibodeau),

Left to Right: Kirk (Eric Wigston), Charles (Doug McKeag), and Joey (JP Thibodeau), “A Fistful of Pampers.” Photo Credit: Nicole Zylstra.

Robert More’s Dads in Bondage, with music by Tom Doyle, returns to Lunchbox Theatre where it was first produced in 1988. Relevant, hilarious, and heartwarming, Dads in Bondage will make audiences smile from ear-to-ear.

For Charles (Doug McKeag), Joey (JP Thibodeau), and Kirk (Eric Wigston), staying at home with the kids will be a piece of cake. Why? Because they’re ‘millennium men’ who know what they’re doing! Well, that’s what the men tell themselves, anyway. Little do they know that bravado alone is no match for stinky diapers and baby colic.

Directed by Glenda Stirling, Dads in Bondage is a ‘fish out of water’ story about three new fathers turned stay-at-home dads when they find themselves suddenly unemployed. Charles and Kirk, an oil executive and construction worker respectively, have been laid off as a result of sinking oil prices. Joey, a nervous Latin teacher, is placed on stress leave to remedy his burn out. Quickly, dreams of ‘having it all’ fill their heads as they take on their new roles. But it is not too long afterwards that Charles, Joey, and Kirk realize what a task it is to raise children.

The men navigate through fatherhood by themselves, then together as they join in their common cause. Knowing murmurs and outbursts of laughter are heard as More presents experiences that parents in the audience may have encountered at some point themselves. Of course, the story More tells is one with a twist, a play on traditional roles.

Much of the show’s humour grows out of the masculine pride that begins so strongly, then falls apart as the stress of parenthood piles on. The men try their best to fool their wives into thinking that nothing is wrong when in fact everything is a disaster. Charles, for example, is completely sleep deprived, while Joey is at his wit’s end trying to handle twins. But for their wives’ sake, and to save face, the men keep silent about their difficulties.

To great effect, More turns antiquated notions of masculinity into something more human. The men eventually get a hold on fatherhood. What was once strenuous and taxing becomes a privilege, a source of joy. The ultimate lesson More leaves the audience with is that being a ‘successful man’ is not what’s important, it’s being a loving parent that is.

McKeag, Thibodeau, and Wigston are a whole lot of fun to watch on stage. There is a lot of great character work by the actors who dive into infectious musical numbers like “A Fistful of Pampers” with gusto. Each contributes significantly to the upbeat, zany nature of the show. Vanessa Sabourin, who plays the men’s three wives and other characters, is a fun addition to the show as well. Although she does not share the stage as much, Sabourin brings plenty of laughs with each appearance.

(And the puppets – they’re something too!)

An enthusiastic musical comedy about stay-at-home dads, Dads in Bondage is sure to delight and entertain audiences.


Robert More’s Dads in Bondage, with music by Tom Doyle, runs at Lunchbox Theatre, May 4 – 23.

For more information about the show, visit: http://www.lunchboxtheatre.com/calendar/2015/4/27/dads-in-bondage-by-robert-more-with-music-by-tom-doyle?view=calendar

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