Paul T Davies reviews My Dad Wears A Dress playing at Underbelly Cowgate as part of the Edinburgh Fringe.
The Fringe is a space for artists to explore and share their stories. Ever since she was a child, Maria Telnikoff’s father has worn dresses and uses the pronoun she. This, of course, is perfectly natural to a child until they start school, were questions and attitudes are raised. This beautiful piece is honest and lived, joyous in its anecdotes and performance, yet dealing with awkwardness and shame, feeling forced to lie because people wouldn’t understand your special Dad.
Telnikoff is a natural comedian, taking us back to the first day in school, where her word of the day was womb, right up to finally telling her best friend at the back of the bus on the way to school aged 17. In between there is a side-splitting mouse nativity, secret crushes and her parents split up, making it easier to explain Dad away. What emerges so skilfully is pride, following a moving discussion about Father’s Day cards, it ends with a literal song and dance.