Laughing at the lighter side of life comes easily, but the feelings it inspires and the issues it addresses are usually fleeting. However, laughing at more controversial commentary – albeit driven by subjective perspectives and lifestyle choices informed by the gender gap – can turn a show into a hilarious opportunity for therapy or even inspire tongue-in-cheek debate. Who’s Your Daddy by Chris Forrest opens up just such a comedic Pandora’s box.
Upfront warning: The show's content has a bit of a sexist slant, but, to be fair, it is billed as a clueless dad’s journey to fatherhood. So when comedian Chris Forrest takes off his Celebrity MasterChef hat and picks up a diaper bag, it is not unexpected that he would call on all the stereotypical hormonal and calm-the-woman-with-chocolate type jokes for his comedy show. Forrest is honest about the fact that this is his funny-man way of dealing with daddy-issues of a very literal kind.
It is this honesty that makes the show appealing and good for a giggle. It is not high-end theatre, and it does not try to be that. Smart! Both Forrest and his set look as frazzled as one would expect a new dad to be.
He welcomes parents, grandparents, parents-to-be, people who know parents and even the 'non-breeders' to his performance. This all-inclusive greeting cunningly sets the tone for the show. It allows every audience member to interpret and experience Forrest’s new-dad-anxiety-driven rantings from their own unique perspective. As a 'non-breeder', I may have laughed a little more loudly – out of pure relief – at jokes that moms in the audience may only have giggled at while giving Forrest an ‘oh no he didn’t just’ glare.
The basic premise sees Forrest addressing the audience with his survival tips and rules, while comically mansplaining the different stages of pregnancy. He plays to his strength, i.e. dead-pan comedy, under the direction of Bevan Cullinan. The pace of the show is steady and the timing hits the funny marks.
The show is perhaps best described as a therapy session for delusional first-time dads, who, like Forrest, feel totally overwhelmed and can only deal with their ‘reality’ in this kind of madcap, slightly illogical, manner. As such, it invites the audience to laugh with these dads as much as at them. Ultimately, even though Who's Your Daddy does cast (pregnant) women as ranging from crazy to hysterical, Forrest’s exaggeratedly dry recounting of his personal fatherhood conundrums and experiences are not preachy and are certainly to be taken with a pinch of baby powder.
Who’s Your Daddy will have you giggling when you aren’t gasping. At the very least, you will never look at magnesium bath salts the same way again! Catch it at Kalk Bay Theatre until 6 August 2017. Book your seat and your pre-show restaurant spot online at www.kalkbaytheatre.co.za.