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Daddy’s Boy



Maybe this says more about me than the performance, but from the title, I expected a playful, homoerotic, mildly off-putting, psychosexual romp. What I experienced was somehow stranger. I didn’t want to give this performance a middling review because of the subject matter—a man reckoning with his father’s struggle with Parkinson’s, and subsequently grappling with his mortality—but despite the possibilities for profundity in such heady material I found myself more than a little disengaged. Perhaps it was hearing this white South African named Erik de Waal recount learning a stiff lesson from calling his black farmhand the South African equivalent of the n-word that put me off, or his account of rebelling against his full ride to study accountancy by going into theatre: either way, this one-man show wasn’t the highlight of my Fringe experience. Your mileage may vary.  -Lynsey Grosfield


Gig City


Total Score
3/ 5

Reader Rating
119 total ratings



Dates / Times:
  • 10:00 pm - 2018/08/16
  • 5:45 pm - 2018/08/18
  • 8:45 pm - 2018/08/19
  • 11:15 pm - 2018/08/20
  • 3:00 pm - 2018/08/22
  • 4:45 pm - 2018/08/24
  • 12:30 pm - 2018/08/25

Posted 2018/08/16 by



5 Reviews

    Paula Robson

    Not sure what show the reviewer saw, but my husband and I were deeply moved by this man telling a story about his father’s life and death. The stories of the actor’s childhood and ‘coming of age’ were beautifully intertwined with his father’s progressive decline owing to a diagnosis of treatment-resistant Parkinson’s disease – it left both of us in tears. Very moving, and highly recommended.

    Sabrina Jackson

    It’s clear that this ‘reviewer’ based their review on what they expected to see rather than the show they actually saw. This is a lovely show – well worth seeing – and it’s a shame that it’s been assigned two stars here. I’ve read a few reviews now on this site and I am beginning to question their vetting.

    Nancy Kenny

    As Sabrina said, I’m really questioning what’s going on with the reviews on this site. Did the reviewer not read the program blurb for the show he was attending?

    From the program: ” Heroes and villains, birds of a feather, oil and water – father and son. Erik de Waal explores the rocky, sometimes exuberant relationship between two men who share the same blood and often very little else. ***** “The South African storytelling machine returns with his most affecting tale yet.” (CBC Manitoba)”

    There is no mention in there of a sex romp. It’s about fathers and sons and how they don’t get along.

    I’m not a reviewer, but shouldn’t you be prepared (read the program and the press kits that artists often meticulously put together) and critique the show you are seeing? It’s as if I went into Schindler’s List expecting a rom-com about a guy who tracks down a list of his ex-girlfriends to find the one and being disappointed because the title didn’t match my expectation.

    That said, Erik de Waal is a beautiful storyteller. Go see his show!

    Timothy Anderson

    I have seen most of Erik DeWaal’s shows at the Fringe over the years. Some were fabulous, some were brave attempts that didn’t quite hit the mark (the Gilles de Rais show was an intriguing concept…)

    I saw Daddy’s Boy tonight, and this is a new DeWaal. Stripped down, personal, and perhaps his least “theatrical” show to date – and the most powerful. Stories that could have been maudlin, saccharine, manipulative – but instead were told with humour and clarity and an awareness that this is HIS father, but OUR humanity.

    The show is deceptively simple, but a lot to unpack.

    Yes, Lynsey, it was just you.

    Roanna Burdzy

    What a bizarre disconnect! I’ve been following the Vue reviews this year, and while there are some great writers, have also been appalled by the cavalier attitude displayed by a fair number of your reviewers. Please, although the initiative of “every play reviewed” is laudable, make sure quality is consistent! Critique is NOT about the reviewer’s personal biases nor is it about the writer’s experience. It’s an objective opinion crafted and supported using data from the production. Simple to say, difficult to achieve. But always, always, admit your bias up front and move on. Make it about the work, don’t get personal, and understand that there are frames of reference different to your own. Also, glad to see you removed “Negatives” from the headlines, but how about also moving the angry little red X vs happy green check mark?

    Here endeth the lesson…

    On to Daddy’s Boy. Like one of the commenters above, I am very familiar with the work of Erik de Waal – which, in productions like The PreHistory of Moses P, is brutally honest about Apartheid and its ugliness, and also uses it as a framework to point out the cruelty we all – left, right, woke, etc. – inflict on each other. This production deftly traces the journey of a deep father-son relationship from the hero-worship of a young child, to angsty teenage rebellion, to arrogance of young adulthood, and finally mature love and respect, juxtaposing it with the unrelenting degeneration of a progressive illness. It illustrates, warmly and generously, the universality of grief and loss. It makes room for the audience to question and explore its notions about grieving – and it lingers long after you’ve left the fringe site. It is beautiful, and ugly (actually hearing the “k-word” onstage is about the ugliest thing I’ve heard in a de Waal show, but that was the point), hilarious and devastating. I think everyone should make room in their schedule to see it!

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