Edinburgh Fringe 2015
“The bad guys keep winning. Cheryl and Tess didn’t expect life to be like this. They dream of simpler times when their Dads were in charge and politicians were like rockstars. Deciding to make a tribute act, they attempt to resurrect their forgotten heroes. But when faced with videos of their fathers, their music doesn’t match up. Tribute Acts is a darkly comic, strikingly honest show that asks whether our remembered pasts are, in fact, a fiction.“
Cheryl Gallacher and Tess Seddon have put together a series of videos, commentary and dialogues with their fathers. The girls are charming and their presentation is lively and interesting. In advertising the show they say, “The bad guys keep winning. Cheryl and Tess didn’t expect life to be like this. They dream of simpler times when their Dads were in charge and politicians were like rockstars.”
TRIBUTE ACTS was developed with the support of Arc Stockton, Cambridge Junction and Theatre in the Mill Bradford. The Lighting Design is by Lee Curran, Sound Design by Jon McLeod and Video Design by Letty Fox.The show opens with the two girls in space suits as they swim through time to begin at the beginning of each one’s relationship with her dad. They explain that they have used space as a metaphor for the distance between themselves and their fathers, Sam and Roger. They tell the audience that they are going to take us back to the time when their dads were their heroes.
The questions they ask their dads and the answers they get convince us that although their fathers at first were their idols, each one began to see their father as human beings with all the failings that entails. The two talk about how divorce destroys the sense of home and how each father fails from grace in their eyes. And yet, neither dad ever says he is sorry for the pain he has caused his daughters probably because neither realize the hurt they have inflicted by trying to live their own lives. Each girl still hopes one day each father will realize that his own daughter was wonderful.
When the two girls decided to create this play, they tried to resurrect their dads as forgotten heroes. But when faced with the actual videos of their father’s response to their questions of what they remembered, they realized that their memories did not match the reality of their fathers’ feelings for them. The result is an honest and yet faintly humorous compilation of reactions to what their fathers really were.
The topic of father/daughter relationships is one that needs to be explored and although the girls do a creditable job in this production, this reviewer felt they did not go far enough. They didn’t show us the conflict every parent has between their parenting responsibilities and their obligation to lead a satisfying life. They didn’t explore their father’s human frailty and their own neediness that caused them to expect more from their fathers than the men were able to give. This reviewer felt that Tribute Acts was a great beginning; in fact it was a delightful hour. And yet…and yet…The topic cried for so much more depth and more introspection on what it takes to be a great father, what it means to be a good daughter and where the line is drawn between parental responsibility and the need to forge one’s own happy life. .