de Waal is a fine storyteller, both exuberant and gentle.

By: Jill Pollock

Daddy’s Boy, written and performed by Erik de Waal, comes across as a common storytelling theme of father and son, the growing pains of life, and the eventuality of death. de Waal’s story fluxes between growing up in South Africa during the ending of apartheid, and the eventual slow and difficult death of his father from Parkinson’s disease.

de Waal is a fine storyteller, both exuberant and gentle, depending on the story. He excitedly describes his college years of debauchery with fabulous parties going on until the wee hours, empty wine bottles and naked bodies everywhere. Then, the tone switches when he shares the heartbreaking diagnosis of his father’s disease and the fate of how much longer his father will live.

Though the theme of death is a relatable story for almost everyone, it can sometimes become redundant if not curated with finesse. The latter part of de Waal’s story seems suddenly heavy, and his visceral descriptions of his father’s death knock the wind out of the audience’s sails, pulling us almost too far away from the overall story. Regardless, de Waal found his footing and wove us back into the loving structure of a father’s memory of always being there for their son.


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