The ABCs of Love with Adult Baby Cupid (Still Your Friend Productions) isn’t in the 2018 Toronto Fringe printed program because they were asked to fill in for a show that dropped out at the last minute. It’s a shame because this is a very funny show and more people should know about it and see it.
Admit it, you’ve always wanted to see a show where one of the characters is a grown man with a slightly “less-than-perfect” body whose costume is a pair of wings, a blonde wig, and an adult diaper.
The show was written by Kristin Mueller-Heaslip, who plays herself, and Adam Bailey, who plays Adult Baby Cupid.
While I was waiting for the show to start Mueller-Heaslip, a soprano with a background in opera, played a keyboard and sang. There were a few points in the song where she sang “Clap your hands…” and I would have but I couldn’t find the beat. It was that kind of slow, smooth song that you hear at a recital. She looked very prim and serious. It seemed like a strange thing to have before a show giving love and sex advice.
Then she started to play and sing an old rock and roll song to call Cupid to the stage. She played and sang the same way as before and the audience cracked up. And kept cracking up for the rest of the show.
The thing that made this a wonderful show for me was that it could easily have just gone for the cheap laughs – which was kind of what I was expecting. It didn’t. Well, sometimes it did, but it managed to stay funny and do a little gentle teaching/reinforcing at the same time.
There was a very funny skit about enthusiastic consent performed by two people picked from the audience, assisted by Cupid and Kristen. Not what I expected, but I loved it.
I also loved that they gave terrific answers to the questions ‘from the audience’ and acknowledged that things have changed in a post #metoo world…And kept it funny.
Bailey’s Adult Baby Cupid spoke with a kind of baby talk lisp; replacing R and L with W – “wun widdow baby”. He sustained it for the whole show, I have no idea how. (In my notes I wrote W for L&R. When I got home and looked at it I had no idea what it meant until I wrote this.)
I loved the way that Bailey and Mueller-Heaslip worked together. In the show they were supposed to have worked together for years and it really seemed as if they had. They had some great back story early in the show about places where demonstrators had attacked them and where they had been put in jail or hadn’t been able to finish the show. At the end of the show they were over the moon with joy because they had actually finished a show.
I plan to tell everyone I know to go and see it. It’s fun and funny, a great way to spend and hour. You should go.
VIEW MAGAZINE (HAMILTON FRINGE REVIEW)
The ABCs of Love with Adult Baby Cupid (B) Chelsea Dinsmore MY ENTERTAINMENT WORLD
A late addition to this year’s Fringe Festival, The ABCs of Love with Adult Baby Cupid is an off-kilter, entertaining variety show about love and relationships in the post #MeToo world. Affecting a babyish lisp (think The Impressive Clergyman in The Princess Bride), Adam Bailey goes all in as Adult Baby Cupid. He’s pretty much what you’d expect from the name, a grown man wearing nothing but an adult diaper, a blonde wig, and a pair of wings. Accompanied by his long-time assistant (Kristen Mueller-Heaslip, playing herself), Cupid’s romantic advice show travels from coast to coast, sparking protests wherever it goes. Lamenting the good ol’ days when letters seeking romantic advice were straightforward, Cupid notes that “now most of the questions are about situational ethics”, with the most common question being, “like dude, is it even safe to talk to a woman anymore?” The material is timely and the take on it surprisingly astute as Cupid and Kristin arrive at the conclusion that maybe women are better equipped to answer questions about love and relationships themselves. Opera-trained Heaslip plays the straight man to Bailey’s clownish character, and sets the scene nicely before the show begins by singing classical versions of romantic songs in a sweet soprano. The advice given throughout the show is actually pretty good, as Cupid and Kristen discuss topics that include informing your partner of your kinks, and the idea of enthusiastic consent. The ABCs of Love with Adult Baby Cupid isn’t as humourous as I expected it to be, but what it lacks in laughs, it makes up for with insightful commentary on love, consent, and relationships in the post #MeToo era.
CHRISTOPHER HOILE- NOW MAGAZINE NNN
The ABCs Of Love is a ramshackle two-person variety show weakly combining music, clown and Dear Abby-style advice on love. It may be a late entry in this year’s Fringe, but co-star Adam Bailey is well-known here from several previous Fringe shows, like last year’s The Life of Henri.
Bailey’s Adult Baby Cupid is just what you’d imagine – a husky guy naked except for an adult diaper and wings. He may lack a red nose but this is a clown persona as undisciplined as a baby and speaking what’s not supposed to be said. As the ancient god Eros in Greece, Cupid finds the 21st century boring in its political correctness and demands for consent. He’s tired of #MeToo complaints from men and women and wants to bring back old-fashioned romantic love.
To bring him up to date is Kristin Mueller-Heaslip, who tries to censor views Cupid wants to express that may cause protests. Not only is Mueller-Heaslip a genial comedian adept at off-the-cuff remarks, but she has a lovely soprano voice. Her singing of piano arrangements of 20th-century pop hits is really more of a pleasure than Bailey’s all-over-the-place character. Till you hear her you’d never know how good New Order’s Bizarre Love Triangle sounds as a classical art song.
Raise The Hammer Review by Bryan Boodhoo
(We normally don’t publish negative reviews but his guy HATED the show)
This show was not my cup of tea. When it played in Toronto Fringe festival a few weeks ago, NOWcritic Christopher Hoile called it a “mixed bag”. Mixed indeed. The piano playing and singing of Kristen Mueller-Heaslip is truly lovely, but probably not strong enough to stand out on its own. Still, it was quite enjoyable to listen to her fill the void of the pre-show auditorium with her tunes. She seemed to be somewhat unresponsive to the audience, however. Whenever they applauded, she cut it off quickly with another show tune, like the audience being there was just a disturbance.
Some time later, Adam Bailey appeared on stage in adult diapers and under-sized feather wings attached to his back. He spoke in an affected voice and would have us believe that he is an adult baby cupid. He got right in the face of audience members, making for a very awkward experience, one which I did not appreciate or enjoy.
At some points, the actors refer to their show as a variety show, at other times a clown show, and near the end they admit that it lacks plot. To me, it seemed more like a lecture with some musical interludes, but I have to admit, I’m not sure what kind of show it was.
Ostensibly, I believe the main purpose of the show was to teach the audience about consent in the #metoo age, but there was so much going on that I could be wrong on that. There was a moment when the audience was reminded that women were once property, and that romantic love was an invention. It was totally unclear to me, when two members of the audience were brought on stage to read a script about consent, if I was supposed to be educated, or if it was farce.
Although the show did acknowledge that it embraced a Western-centric, hetro-normative view of love, it really felt limited in its viewpoint. The beginning of the show started with some lip-synching to canned music, and seemed to engender some kind of sympathy for confused males.
Meanwhile, on the pulldown screen, portraits of disgraced Hollywood brass were flashed across the screen. This included Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein, both of who are currently facing criminal charges. It’s a little trite to conflate these men with confused males for my taste, even if it’s done in jest.
Also, the show seemed to add on a conversation about cultural appropriation, but only long enough to satirize it. Again, I was left confused. What, exactly, was the point? Perhaps it was to fill space, as the show was billed as being 80 minutes but had a runtime of closer to 60 minutes.
In the end, reviews are only one person’s opinion of a performance on a particular night. There are some reviewers out there that found more value in this show than I did, like Mooney on Theatre. To me, Cupid’s arrow missed the mark, as I was left me bewildered and bemused, despite the accomplished music of the show. Still, kudos should to be given to any theatre artists who have the courage to come to Fringe and take big risks.