The lights dim to darkness, and there's fraction of perfect silence… then there's just one thing, one very loud thing: one hungry, screaming baby and her bad bad dad. Bad Dad is a light-hearted look at how quickly and certainly your life changes when a new life comes along, and needs feeding, now.
This one-man show is part mime and part stand-up, but mostly a well-observed comic story. The tale will be recognisable to many: the very real and very natural disturbance newborns bring into what used to be just your world. The content of the show is seemingly autobiographical, telling us about performer Chris Dingli's real life, specifically the bit when sex produced real consequences – the bit when Chris became a self-proclaimed bad dad because he was so unsure of how to be a good one.
On that point, it seems Chris is mostly trapped by his own ideas. He likes life without a child so much that he doesn't see how it could get any better by bonding with this messy little bundle of noise and nappies. But he takes his responsibilities seriously and tries to do the right thing, and the show is an endearing revelation of the inner turmoil that brings him to a better understanding of what the birds and the bees are really all about.
As a dad myself, I found the performance smoothly-delivered and entertaining – though not the side-splitting, belly-laugh-provoking affair described on the posters. The audience giggled their way steadily through Chris' 50 minute confessional, but the material was a little cautious and predictable. This simplicity was loveable in its own way though, and Chris kept the room on his side by admitting faults, revealing his fears, his mistakes and ultimately his reconciliation with the very idea being a parent. Oh yes – and a love of cake.