UM Theatre Review: Adopt This! now playing at The Toronto Fringe Festival



Adopt This! is Dan Bingham’s one -man show currently playing in the Tarragon Theatre’s Solo Space as part of The Toronto Fringe Festival.  Bingham has taken his adoption experience and decided to make us all, the initiated and the uninitiated, laugh.

And laugh we did.  I can’t think of when I have laughed so much about adoption. Oh wait, yes I can. Never. And it felt good to laugh. Damn good!

I don’t want to say too much .  It is a well-crafted show and far be it from me to spoil the way it unrolls or any of the jokes.

As you would suspect, Bingham does take us through the usual events but he does it in a very creative, interesting and humourous way. He talks about his fantasy birth parents, his (imagined) conception, his birth, his adoption, being told he is adopted, his adoptive parents divorce , his troubles as a teenager, etc., etc.. He does a great bit that all adult adoptees will appreciate: how the cute little baby is not the grown-up adoptee.  He is very funny.

Then, he gets The Call, his (birth) mother is looking for him. She’s been looking for a while.  We, the audience, grow quiet for a moment but soon we are laughing again.   There’s the business-like call he receives from the adoption agency intermediary “What if I didn’t know I was adopted?” he asks.  While we laugh we nod our heads in agreement at the lack of sensitivity.

He describes his first phone conversation with his mother, their plans to meet.  I have my hand on the Kleenex I stuffed in my purse before I left home but no, I am still laughing.  I’m holding the Kleenex tighter when he starts to describe the first time he sees his mother:  it’s the eyes, the eyes, when you first meet, he says.  The first words my son said to me in person were:  “All I have to do is look at those eyes and I know you are my mother.” Bingham goes on to describe his first meeting with his family – poignant, of course, but also very funny.

I attended the show with my husband (not my son’s father) and my twenty-five year-old daughter, who was born after I found my son.  My daughter remarked on how similar Bingham’s story was to the one we’d heard from my son.  Not in every aspect but in many.

I liked the show a lot. On every step of my adoption journey I have felt that somehow when I needed something it would appear. Sometimes from someone I knew, sometimes from a complete stranger.  I think somebody knew that after last week, I needed a good laugh. And Adopt This! delivered and then some.

Go see it if you are in the area.  All the Fringers in Toronto took a hit last night with the torrential rain and flooding.  Get out and support them if you can.



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