Monday, 23 May 2016

FIVE STAR REVIEW My Family: Not The Musical

DAVID Baddiel describes his new two-hour show My Family: Not The Musical - now on at the Menier Chocolate Factory - as “a twisted love-letter to my parents”.
In it the comedian and writer talks with incredible candour, honesty and humour about his mum Sarah who died suddenly two years ago and his father Colin, who has Pick's Disease, a particularly nasty form of dementia.
In many ways it is subject matter that might be uncomfortable for some to hear - and a bit like airing ones dirty linen in public.
But it is actually much more than that - it's about memory, ageing, love, infidelity, truth, honesty and even features the antics of one of David's cats.
It is in fact a finely crafted and rather beautiful eulogy for his mother - and a celebration of her rather racy life which she clearly enjoyed - and good on her for that.
It is also filled with affection for his father, despite his vocal outbursts, and by the end the audience is quite moved by footage during a show David did more than 20 years ago after which his father gave him a hug.
It starts with David discussing what people say about those who have died. He cites how many described his mother as "wonderful", something she may well have been but that was not the whole story. He believes that to really remember our loved ones you have to remember their weirdnesses, their madnesses and flaws because no one is a complete angel.
And so for much of the first half we hear about how Sarah had a voracious appetite for sex and how she conducted a very public affair with another man, David White.
We also find out how she loved the limelight, how she wanted to be the centre of attention - in a good way - and how much she enjoyed life.
Throughout the piece there is much humour as well as poignancy and it is utterly compelling.
I wish this show long life.

David Baddiel and My Family: Not The Musical is on at the Menier Chocolate Factory, Southwark Street until June 25. Visit for full listings.

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