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

Jordan Waller in The D Word at Vaults, London
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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.

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Verdict
An underdeveloped but entertaining true story about a man's search for his sperm donor dad
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