Transcript: Connie Meng Review aired Monday, June 20, 2005
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Dads 2: The Toddlers' Revenge

6/15-7/16/05
1000 Islands Playhouse, Gananoque

DADS 2: THE TODDLERS' REVENGE, with book and lyrics by Robert More and music by Tom Doyle, is great fun - lively, sometimes silly, and very entertaining. For those of you who missed DADS THE MUSICAL, DADS 2 continues the tale of three unlikely friends - house husbands who met in a laundromat following the births of their first children. Those children are now toddlers in the midst of "the terrible twos" and all three families are expecting new babies.

A lot of the fun comes from the fact that all the children are played by life-sized puppets, manipulated onstage by the fathers and the lone woman who plays all three wives. I found it fascinating that each two year old had a definite personality that was maintained regardless of which actor was manipulating the puppet.

Timm Hughes's high energy performance style works well for Joey, the New Age dad dealing with twins and expecting triplets. His poetry/drumming scene is a riot.

As Charles, the businessman "designer dad" who makes everything a learning experience for his daughter, Rob Torr is very good. He manages to believably deliver lines like, "Stay in your room until you learn the importance of proper dental care."

Cory O'Brien is excellent as Kirk, the dad who truly loves his stay-at-home role. He's a very good actor and especially believable manipulating the puppets.

As the wives, a psychiatrist and often a puppeteer, Rosemary Doyle gives a terrific performance. She sings very well and handles the lightning-fast character changes with aplomb.

As a matter of fact, all four actors are pretty nippy, switching costumes, roles and puppets with unbelievable speed. I assumed there was an army of dressers backstage, but was told it all happens with the efficient help of only one; Amber Archbell, the Assistant Stage Manager. Not only that, she's also responsible for running the mirror ball.

One of the comic musical highlights is "Mommy and Daddy Were Wrestlin" sung by a very precocious daughter. However, the songs that work the best are the ones that parody recognizable styles. There's a funny rap by the two year olds, a wonderful prom queen doo-wop, a Mexican serenade, a Caribbean number and an absolutely hilarious Ozzy Osborne style rock number. Musical Director Jacqueline Sadler provides an excellent piano accompaniment.

Robin Fisher's set is colorful and clever with its fold out crib panels and multiple entrances. Dennis Horn's costumes are wonderfully versatile in providing for the many quick changes. The wigs for the rock number are silly and fabulous. The lighting by Adair Redish is, as always, very good.

Choreographer Julie Gallie has obviously had fun with the staging and Director Marcia Tratt has pulled it all together into a slick fast-paced production.

DADS 2 won't lead you to any great insights into the human condition, but you'll giggle and laugh a lot, enjoy the actors' versatility and love the puppets.

On a scale of one to five the 1000 Islands Playhouse production of DADS 2: THE TODDLERS' REVENGE gets four and a half fish. For North Country Public Radio I'm Connie Meng.

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