Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: San Francisco/North Bay


Daniel's Husband
New Conservatory Theatre Center
Review by Richard Connema | Season Schedule

Also see Richard's review of Silence! The Musical and Patrick's reviews of Lettice and Lovage and The Real Thing


Daniel Redmond and Michael Monagle
Photo by Lois Tema
I was blown away by Daniel's Husband, the new production at the New Conservatory Theatre Center through February 26. I expected to see a light frothy comedy about gay marriage, full of gay witticisms. I was not expecting this 90-minute drama. Playwright Michael McKeever has written a provocative drama. He has managed a world of wit, wisdom and woe.

In the first act, successful book author Mitchell Howard (Daniel Redmond) and his longtime partner Daniel Bixby (Michael Monagle) are throwing a small dinner party where the campy banter soon turns to gay marriage. One of the guests, Michael's agent and best friend Barry Dylon (Nathan Tylukti), realizes that trouble is coming.

However, young date Trip (John Steel Jr.) is baffled to see that Mitchell is a strong opponent of gays and lesbians getting married. "I don't understand, how can you not believe in it? It's not Santa Clause," says Tripp, and then Mitchell gets distressed and shrieks, "Marriage is an archaic institution fundamentally wrong and meant only for incipient queens who want to assimilate." Daniel feels the exact opposite—he wants to tie the knot with Mitchell.

The uninvited Lydia (Christine Macomber), Daniel's mother, stops by for one of her whirlwind visits and she prods the two to get married. She leaves unsatisfied since Mitchell is adamant that they will not marry. Daniel explodes, saying he wants to be married. Because now, they can. He collapses to the floor. The second act is completely different. It's a deep drama full of provocative thoughts, confounding serious beliefs, and contemplation.

Michael Monagle is outstanding as Daniel Bixby. He is charming and impeccable in his conversations. Daniel Redmond gives an excellent performance as Mitchell. Christine Macomber is superb as Lydia the bitchy mother. Nathan Tylukti as Barry and John Steele Jr. as Trip are ideal in their roles. Director Allen Sawyer has paced his expert company cleverly, positively and sensitively.

Bottom Line. Daniel's Husband is certainly a work of overpoweringly moving art.

Daniel's Husband runs through February 26, 2017, at the Walker Theatre, New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness Ave at Market Street, San Francisco, CA. Tickets and information at 415-861-8972 or www.nctcsf.org. Coming up next is a world premiere of Jewell Gomez' Leaving the Blues running March 3 to April 3rd.


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