Jamie Brickhouse is a memorable mimic. His enthralling solo show, I Favor My Daddy, doesn’t feel solo because of how vividly he inhabits his characters. We meet his parents, Mama Jean and Daddy Poo, his brothers, his father’s former girlfriends, and a Neiman Marcus customer service rep. Even with his humor and performance skills on display, the real gift of the show is its intimacy.
If you caught Brickhouse’s popular show at Capital Fringe last year, Dangerous When Wet: Booze, Sex, and My Mother, you’re familiar with the domineering Mama Jean and with Brickhouse’s passage from addiction to recovery. This year’s follow-up focuses on Daddy Poo, or Earl, a civic leader and constant drinker. Was Earl what he professed to be? Brickhouse’s parents loved to socialize in their hometown of Beaumont, Texas. They were conservative, republican, and Catholic. They were also volatile partners whom Brickhouse calls “the George and Martha of Beaumont,” a reference to the explosive couple in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.
I Favor My Daddy closes July 21, 2019 at Capital Fringe 2019. Details and tickets
Brickhouse starts the show by asking which of us had dead daddies and if anyone else is obsessed with their dead parents. His obsession, he tells us, is driven by unanswered, and unasked, questions. While father and son were close, much of what Brickhouse discovers about his father comes after his father’s death. He examines evidence that was there all along and now that evidence seems to point to startling conclusions. Father and son might be more alike than anyone thought.
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It’s the early 80s and Brickhouse, young and gay, is desperate for any scrap of sexually appealing imagery. He finally finds a picture of a man in an issue of Penthouse among his father’s stash. It was like a “fifth of bourbon in a dry county.” His finds, as he’s snooping, figure heavily into the suppositions he makes later in life. As Brickhouse looks back he recalls Mama Jean’s frequent complaints about Earl’s drinking and the state of their marriage. “God, I miss intimacy.”
As Brickhouse deftly unravels this complex story, he maintains direct eye contact with the audience. I found the times I thought I was looking at him, really him and not a character, to be the most moving.
As always with looking back, we can never know the full truth. Brickhouse went through a lot to be himself and to live honestly. He shared who he was with his parents, but did they do the same with him? When we can no longer ask our parents these questions—Why did you marry this person? Why did you choose this life?—the best we can do is try to figure it out on our own.
I Favor My Daddy was written, directed and performed by Jamie Brickhouse. Presented at Capital Fringe 2019. Reviewed by Michelle Rago.
Adam Silber says
Why is this play promoting known.corporate criminal Neiman Marcus? Will contact the writers…