Phoenix @ Pleasance Dome

A rockstar tries to cope with life as a single dad in this music-filled and heart-warming story following the rocky road to parenthood

Review by Tabitha Fallace | 08 Aug 2019
  • Phoenix

What starts off as your average cliched teen coming-of-age story soon takes on an unexpected turn as a single dad is thrown into stardom when his budding starlet girlfriend becomes pregnant. Left behind to cope with a young baby on the dregs of "stardust and jet fuel", this single dad has just had a spanner thrown into the works of his own rockstar dreams.

A natural storyteller, Andy Gallo navigates all the characters of Ash Phoenix’s life with flair and humour, excelling particularly when he takes on the role of younger son Lenny, whose hilarious songs are both heart-warming and innocently mocking of his father figure.

The musically adept Gallo switches instruments and aptly utilises their timbre with the tone of each scene. We hear the humble country in his acoustic guitar as he sets out as a hopeful musician in LA. Gliding in with his new movie star girlfriend, Ruby Robinson, is a smooth electric sound, tauntingly delivering faux-Bond tunes. Drum solos are reserved for the bombshell moments and are delivered with a suspense that lends itself well to the humour of the piece.

It isn't hard to see why Ash never makes it as a rock star. The songs are honest and simple, and you get the sense you have opened up his head to reveal the daily ditties improvised to make the trials and tribulations of single parenthood bearable.

Yet Gallo plays the part with such sincerity that it's genuinely surprising to discover this is not a one-man comedy show flown over from LA by a hopeful dad. We're almost expecting to hear Lenny’s screams or watch him stumble on stage and ask for a snack, convinced he is hiding in the wings watching his dad perform. It is an accomplished piece of writing by Jessica Sharman and Richard Marsh who deserve due credit for the mirthful and musical patchwork of text and song that embodies this light-hearted and heart-warming story of one dad's rocky road to parenthood.

Phoenix, Pleasance Dome (10 Dome), until 26 Aug (not 13), 1.20pm, £11-12