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Fringe NYC 2015

Fathers & Sons

Drift In, Act Out

Genre: Drama, New Writing

Venue: The Kraine Theater


Low Down

Fathers & Sons is a beautifully written story with heart, humor, and more than a little wit.


Some shows are made for Fringe festivals. They’re a “moment” of theatricality or an off-shoot of an idea that belong to a specific theatrical time and place. Only a few will, and should, slip the bonds of the festival scene and continue into the world. Fathers & Sons is one of the plays that should be breaking out of the festival scene and finding its way Off-Broadway and beyond.

Fathers & Sons is a show that is entirely relatable, even if you don’t fall into one of its titular demographics. On the surface, it’s the story of Al Marshal (Doug Willen) trying to take care of his angsty son Adam (Andrew Chamberlain), and his aging father (Robert Sean Miller), lovingly referred to as Pop. Mental hardships abound as Adam struggles with depression, Pop is developing dementia, and Al has to endure it all. ‘Light-hearted’ is the wrong word, but it definitely deals with the reality of such afflictions: the reality being that sometimes they’re humorous, and sometimes they’re heart-breaking.

Particularly poignant are the scenes where verbal tennis escalates to physical confrontation, but every exchange is full of wit, feeling, and a lot of charm. Zack Friedman has outdone himself as a writer with a piece that touches on every point of the emotional spectrum. For fathers and sons, the parallels are obvious, and the characters are instantly recognizable. But the struggles they undergo are familiar to everyone, regardless of gender or family history: fear of failure, an inability to communicate, and a desire to love and be loved. The story of Fathers & Sons runs deep, and the deeper it goes, the more we enjoy it.

Hopefully, this play will enjoy long-running success past the NY Fringe, because it deserves that opportunity. It deserves the opportunity to be retold, and we deserve the opportunity to watch the story unfold. Whether it reminds you of home or makes you grateful for what you have, Fathers & Sons is a moving piece with lots to offer anyone.