Curveball Creative’s Who’s Your Baghdaddy? is a tongue in cheek comedy which explores how a mixing pot of lies, conceit, ego, and other human flaws, can unintentionally lead to war. Who’s Your Baghdaddy? takes the form of an AA-style meeting for people whose individual actions contributed to the commencement of the Iraq war. Some characters were grappling with their consciences, while others still needed to come to terms with the role they played. Through the use of flashbacks, the play explored the mismanagement of information supplied by an Iraqi defector, nicknamed ‘Curveball’.
The AA-style meeting was conducted over video conferencing, mirroring present circumstances. Logging into the live stream as an audience member created a unique sense of intimacy – you felt as though you could have been a participant in the meeting. The musical numbers were upbeat and ranged from pop-style songs to raps. A fun highlight was Richart (Matthew Prendy) singing ‘I Am Das Man’, and towards the end of the show, Curveball’s (Troy Sussman) emotional soulful timbre bled through the screen. Clever use of lighting added to the musical numbers and scene changes. At one point during a particularly climactic moment, the use of flashlights and smoke created a sense of chaos and panic.
The cast members were faced with the difficult challenge of delivering a collaborative performance from separate, isolated spaces. In this they were successful – even though they weren’t sharing the same set the illusion that they were interacting face to face was creative and their chemistry was convincing. All performers were energetic and each used the limited space they had effectively. Blake Erickson and Katrina Retallick’s performances as multiple supporting characters was particularly entertaining and delivered many laughs. At times, the smaller screens of background characters zooming around the screen during musical numbers could get a little distracting, and sometimes the shift of the main screen to another character felt too sudden. Further, although the musical was successfully critical of bureaucracy and authority, it failed to address the structural failures which led to a refugee needing to lie to be allowed refuge in Germany. The American and German characters had splashes of backstory peppered throughout the play which added further dimensions to their character, while failure of the same treatment for Curveball’s narrative meant he remained other-ed. In the midst of a pandemic, creating a musical production for stay-at-home viewers is no easy venture. Curveball Creative successfully navigated this challenge and created an enjoyable musical to watch from the comfort of your own home.