nytheatre.com review by Lucile Scott
August 21, 2008
Parental Indiscretions is driven by the polished and tight performances of Steve Hayes as Brett O'Brady and Tom Cayler as Bart O'Brady—the duo also wrote the show—playing two brothers unraveling their sordid family secrets as their father lays dying in the ICU in this comedic two-man show. Yes, it is a pure comedy that takes place next to their father's deathbed. The show does not strive to hit any dramatic moments. It's all about the laughs, though it does have something to say about sexuality, family, and the almost cruel indifference that can come from growing up in a family with far more secrets than love.
In the show, Brett, who fled his small town when he was outed as gay his senior year in high school, has returned home after receiving a mysterious telegram informing him that his father is dying. There he runs into his brother, Bart, his straight twin who married his high school sweetheart and took over the family business and with whom he rarely speaks. Over the course of the show the two increasingly connect as they deal with the pesky town folk, played hilariously and with impressive physicality by Hayes, and their relatives, played by them both, and bond by singing old show tunes and TV lead-ins.
The set consists of two stools and the show depends entirely on the actors' presence and chemistry as they wittily banter back and forth. The secrets they discover are quite extreme and seem like a farcical parody of a play in which people uncover family secrets. But while the show seemingly wants to make points about the fact that it can be hard for a family to have gay members and that more people are gay than may admit it, it doesn't quite hit the mark. It is not quite sharp enough to function effectively as satire or farce and does not give anyone enough real emotions to let us connect with the characters or feel invested in what happens to them or in what happened in their pasts. However, the show is funny. The acting is strong. And the crowd was laughing and clapping and loving the campy song and dance numbers and the jokes.