The sins of the fathers : THEATRE

Mad and Her Dad Lyric Studio, London W6

For the first few minutes of Mad and Her Dad, I suspect I was wearing an expression of panicky incredulity, quite unlike the fatuous grin of pleasure that was plastering my face by the time I emerged a couple of hours later. The piece is a musical by Paul Sand, whose most recent project Out of the Blue, a "tuna" about Nagasaki, bombed (so to speak) after about a fortnight at the Shaftesbury Theatre. Mad and Her Dad has certain key similarities to it. Both works, for example, build up to the event ual reunion of an estranged father and the daughter he has not seen since she was a little girl, and both have uplift-songs with the image of "the blinding light".

In spirit, though, the shows could hardly be more different. Small-scale and irreverent, Mad and Her Dad keeps puncturing pretensions whereas Out of the Blue never established its right to the pretensions it kept inflating. In the earlier piece, major historical events and the forces of racial prejudice tore the father-daughter pair apart, whereas in this latest one the cause is nothing more earth-shattering than the artist-father's abandonment of his family as an itchy-footed hippie. And they are brought together by a series of accidents that cannot be accused of the slightest dignity: the father, a 1960s-nostalgic, designs a range of pornographic wallpaper which threatens to bring scandal and ruin to the daughter's new boyfriend, the young head of a family wallpaper firm.

Yes, this must be one of the few musicals ever to include such lyrical technical terms as "24-inch repeats" in its songs. It is also one of the few to be arranged for string quartet as sole accompaniment. The Lyric Quartet produce a splendid sound, shifting with great versatility from straight-ahead emotionalism, through tango and samba pastiche, to noises which, in one song, reminded me of Madness. This type of backing works best as poker-faced send-up, however, and it can have a clogging effect on some of the punchier lyrics.

The writing and the dramatic development are pretty ragged but Gwen Walford's engaging, simple production makes a virtue of the lack of finish. In very good voice, Tim Hardy is hilarious as the father, giving the character's nostalgia for the 1960s just the right degree of ridiculous soulfulness: "In the Sixties / We stood for something then / We all got stoned and everything shone / We listened to sounds / And people walked down to the river / With nothing on." As his daughter and her boyfriend, DeniseBlack and Conrad Nelson have a fine comic appeal, nowhere more so than when they make what sounds like uncomfortable love ("I'm freezing." "Is that your own?"). The "dreary musical" playing on the telly in the same room shows the pair of them in glamorous evening dress by the edge of a sunset sea, reprising in grandiose spoof-video mode their big duet from earlier. The show is daft from start to finish but with just enough delightful moments to make it seem worthwhile.

n Box-office: 0181-741 8701

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Place Blanche, Paris, 1961, shot by Christer Strömholm
photographyHow the famous camera transformed photography for ever
Arts and Entertainment
The ‘Westmacott Athlete’
art
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
News
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
people
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

music
Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Game of Thrones will run for ten years if HBO gets its way but showrunners have mentioned ending it after seven

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
Mans Zelmerlow will perform 'Heroes' for Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth (Heida Reed) and Ross Poldark (Aiden Turner) in the BBC's remake of their 1975 original Poldark

Poldark review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
    How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

    How to make your own Easter egg

    Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

    Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

    Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

    Cricket World Cup 2015

    Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
    The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing