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Theatre Review: Our Fathers ***

Michael Cox reviews a production that works well in moments.

Our Fathers has its heart in the right place: it’s a look at father/son relationships, juxtaposing Edmund Gosse’s book Father & Son with the lives of Rob Drummond and Nicholas Bone. Gosse, Drummond and Bone all have something in common: they are sons of clergymen yet are themselves atheists.

Drummond and Bone consistently come across as sincere. They act out scenes from Gosse’s classic autobiographical account before reflecting on how their lives had similar moments. And there are indeed moments that come across wonderfully—some filled with good humour, others rather heart-breaking.

But that is also the biggest stumbling block of the production: its moments don’t quite add up to a fulfilling piece of theatre.

There’s nothing wrong with it: it’s well-designed and directed, and most of Drummond and Bone’s interplay is quite nice to watch—although their falling out over how to perform a few key scenes is a joke milked well beyond its worth. But there is no getting around the fact that: a) it feels like it’s missing a satisfying emotional through-line and b) it seems more cathartic for Drummond and Bone than it is for the audience.

Our Fathers tours until November 18.

Tags: theatre

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