Jordan Waller is possibly best known for his role as Lord Arthur Paget in ITV’s Victoria. In this self-penned, autobiographical piece Waller dwells not on his fledgling acting career but on his personal life, growing up as the son of a lesbian. The imaginatively titled Son of Dyke sees the actor floored by the death of his mother, which in turn sends him on a quest to discover the sperm donor who is his biological father.
Although there are plenty of laughs in Waller’s writing there is a petulant, almost aggressive tone underpinning it. True, there are moments of great poignancy, as he explains the bond he shares with his mother’s ex-girlfriend. But the protagonist that Waller has created is distinctly unlikeable, with a self-confidence teetering on the edge of narcissism.
Also, as a performer, Waller seems curiously unconnected to such an autobiographical piece of work. His performance has clarity and dynamism but his emotional detachment is slightly unnerving. It’s like watching a stand-up comedian who has picked up the script and can’t quite judge the sub-text. Waller ties the story up neatly enough with some emotional resolutions and lessons learned, but there’s no point at which you really believe him.