Get our free email newsletter with just one click

The D Word review at Vaults, London – ‘an entertaining solo show’

Jordan Waller in The D Word at Vaults, London
by -

This is a true story. Jordan Waller was born in 1992, the child of two lesbians. His natural mum, the lucky recipient of a vial of sperm from an anonymous donor. And his other mum, Dawn, a woman with whom he struggles to define his relationship, particularly after his parents split up.

The D Word, written and performed by Waller and directed by Max Gill, is essentially a very actorly stand-up show. Waller stands on a bare stage, occasionally making use of a projector screen behind him, taking the audience through his life story, his relationship with his parents, and his search for his actual father – donor number 24602.

Waller has had a dad-shaped hole at the centre of his life, and this is his desperate search to fill it. A desperate, misguided search for answers, for a male role-model, and ultimately for identity.

The writing isn’t particularly sophisticated. Those underlying themes aren’t sufficiently drawn out, and the jokes are flat and contrived, although there is one particularly funny one: “I’m a modern man – I eat hummus and suck cock,” quips Waller (he’s also gay, as it turns out).

What elevates the show, though, is Waller himself. He has a slightly smarmy, slightly camp charisma, which he deploys to good effect throughout, sauntering about the stage in a shirt and wincingly tight trousers, jauntily flicking his eyebrows and imperiously waving his hands around. It’s a winning comic performance, in an imperfect but highly personal play.

Vault Festival 2019: colourful protests, slick storytelling and cult horror – this year’s top shows

We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.

Subscribers to The Stage get 10% off The Stage Tickets’ price
An underdeveloped but entertaining true story about a man's search for his sperm donor dad