Skip to content

FringeGuru

 
Who's Your Daddy?
Published on Sunday, 19 August 2012
3

3 stars

Assembly Hall (venue website)
Theatre
2-12, 14-26 Aug, 10:30pm-11:45pm
Reviewed by Anne Stirling

 Recommended for age 16+ only.

Who's Your Daddy? is the touching story of an Irish actor's spontaneous trip to Uganda, where he meets and grows to love an orphan, Benson – and his struggle to adopt him as his son. The story has its tensions, and exposes the difficulties of adopting, especially for a single man who 'likes men and women but prefers men'. But while the movements and ambient sound effects helped us imagine the world he was describing, Johnny O'Callaghan's stage presence wasn't as gripping as I would have liked for a narrative of this ilk.

O'Callaghan introduces us to his world: his New York City apartment (complete with the occasional rodent), his in-between job as a Traffic Safety Instructor, his dog, his recent acting role in Stargate Atlantis, and his family back home in Ireland. He tells the story of his invitation to join a friend, Stella, on her trip to Uganda to film a documentary, and then delves into describing this new world and the characters he meets on his way. He conjures some evocative imagery – for instance when he encounters the orphans he sees 'mould growing on their heads, skin ashy with snot' – and his sound effects and music complement the story nicely.  But I was left wanting something more from O'Callaghan as a storyteller.

He went through the motions and gestures appropriate to the scenes he created, but there was something repetitive in his intonation that grew, over time, monotonous. I didn't buy into his incredulity at the discoveries he made, such as the corruption of Andrew, the Ugandan man running the orphanage – both because it sheds no new light on the problems facing many developing countries, and because his reactions were all played at the same level. There wasn't a lot of light and shade in his performance, which is a feature I expect all good storytellers to employ. The show lagged as a whole as a result.

There were some nice moments dotted throughout the show, such as his parody of his mother (who is never without a cigarette, a drink and the odd bit of bigotry). I'd have liked to have seen more finely-tuned caricatures like his mother on the phone, declaring that 'There's nothing but murder and rain in Ireland'; they were a real highlight. His pregnancy metaphor (as reflected in the show’s promotional material) was an interesting one, but I ultimately felt it was shoe-horned in for effect and structure, and didn't quite work for me.

I do think this is a great story, and admire O'Callaghan for embracing this Ugandan orphan as his son, but I don't know if Who's Your Daddy? works that effectively as a stage show. Yet, while overall his narrative lacked dynamism, O'Callaghan did win me over in the end – with his final line, a warming conclusion to an intriguing tale.

<< Morceaux de Choix   Murder, Marple and Me >>

FROM OUR ARCHIVES

These are archived reviews of shows from Edinburgh 2012.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to performers, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.

Edinburgh 2012 Five Stars

5 stars Comedy
Totally Tom


5 stars Comedy
The Magical Adventures of Pete Heat


5 stars Theatre
Bye Bye World


5 stars Comedy
Barbershopera: The Three Musketeers


5 stars Comedy
Truth


5 stars Theatre
The House of Shadows


5 stars Cabaret
Briefs


5 stars Theatre
Made for Each Other - Free


5 stars Comedy
Tony Law: Nonsense Overdrive


5 stars Comedy
Ivo Graham and Liam Williams


5 stars Comedy
Hannibal Buress: Still Saying Stuff


5 stars Comedy
The Blanks' Big Break


5 stars Theatre
A Clockwork Orange


5 stars Comedy
Richard Wiseman: Psychobabble


5 stars Comedy
Martin Mor: A Man You Donít Meet Everyday


5 stars Theatre
1984


5 stars Comedy
Swedenborg, the Devil and Me


5 stars Theatre
The Trench


5 stars Theatre
Casablanca: The Gin Joint Cut


5 stars Theatre
Joyced!


5 stars Theatre
An Evening With Dementia


5 stars Comedy
Scott Agnew: Tales of the Sauna


5 stars Theatre
Comedian Dies in the Middle of Joke


5 stars Comedy
Chris Ramsey: Feeling Lucky


5 stars Comedy
The Horne Section - Live at the Grand!


5 stars Theatre
How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found


5 stars Theatre
The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle


5 stars Theatre
Songs of Lear


5 stars Cabaret
Jonny Woo: Wonder Woo-Man


5 stars Comedy
Josie Long: Romance and Adventure


5 stars Comedy
10 Films With My Dad


5 stars Theatre
4.48 Psychosis


5 stars Theatre
As You Like It


5 stars Theatre
Appointment With The Wicker Man


5 stars Comedy
Jessie Cave: Bookworm


5 stars Comedy
Morgan & West: Lying, Cheating Scoundrels


5 stars Theatre
Hearts on Fire


5 stars Theatre
Rainbow


5 stars Comedy
Chris Dangerfield: Sex Tourist


5 stars Comedy
Chris McCausland: Not Blind Enough


5 stars Theatre
Chatroom


5 stars Comedy
Peacock & Gamble Don't Even Want To Be On Telly Anyway


5 stars Theatre
I Heart Hamas: And Other Things I'm Afraid to Tell You


5 stars Comedy
John Robertson - The Dark Room - Free


5 stars Kids'
Dr Brown Brown Brown Brown Brown and His Singing Tiger