Valentine’s Day has come and thankfully gone, but the rapidly rising Pageant Dads have left a tale of betrayal, love, redemption, and “baby mama drama” in the hearts of the 100+ people that packed into the relatively small 1078 Gallery to catch “The Loveseat Diaries.” The play – written, directed, and starring the Dads themselves – played for one night only and left many audience members wanting more from the musicians-turned-actors.

The story follows lead guitarist and lonely heart, Ruth Wardwell. Ruth has been sleeping on bassist Craig D’Anthony’s loveseat since his divorce. When he is accepted on “Blind Chance At Love,” a trashy dating game show that tapes the same night as the Dad’s upcoming Holiday Inn show, he is forced to quit the band. Drummer Hawk Mahalo suggests scouring the Yellow Pages for a replacement which gives them scumbag butt-rocker Ronnie “Chili Dog” Thornton (Matt Shilts). As Ruth and the Dads try to fill their respective voids, they are only met with disappointment. Ruth learns the women on the show are just actors, and he returns to Chico loveless and bandless. Meanwhile, the Dads learn to despise Chili Dog for his ego and inability to not bang the wife of rhythm guitarist Tom Chaz. Eventually, Ruth rejoins the band, who find him a date in true Valentine’s Day miracle fashion, by searching the Yellow Pages for a hooker.856414_583181528376699_461515851_o

The show effectively incorporated a variety of mediums to weave a surprisingly cohesive and engaging storyline, though this is the Dads’ first foray into writing for the stage. Dry, comic scenes were punctuated with film segments showing Ruth’s hilarious audition for “Blind Chance At Love” and his sweet, goofy, and ultimately false date. And, of course, Pageant Dads played their brilliant brand of tongue-in-cheek, genre-bending rock and roll.

While “The Loveseat Diaries” lacked the grace of a more professional piece of theatre, no one seemed to care as indicated by the standing ovation the show received. The Dads and the supporting ensemble “embraced the slop” as Chaz put it, and what would have been a weakness became a strength. In a one-night-only show, anything might happen. The Dads and the audience came together in that one moment, like lovers do, and made something magical happen. And like a one-night stand, the Dads didn’t call the audience again. Well, at least until they write another show.

Nolan Ford grew up in Chico, California with great respect and admiration for Synthesis and its mission to provide an alternative voice on matters of music, art, and life in Chico. In addition to editing the paper and managing its musical content, Nolan performs with various bands around town including Perpetual Drifters, The Rugs, Pat Hull, and acoustic duo, Emma & Nolan.