I have a slight confession of bias. Any show that warms up its arriving audience with music by Kate Bush has, as far as I'm concerned, already earned at least three stars - as well as my immediate goodwill.
Son of Dyke is a tender, grounded show about grief.
Of course, it's possible for the subsequent production to squander the latter and descend the star ratings. However, Son of Dyke, written and performed with charm, energy and real heart by Jordan Waller, doesn’t put a foot wrong.
On the surface, this is an autobiographical study of Waller growing up as the gay son of two Lesbian parents, and his search for his biological sperm-bank-depositing father. Some might be offended by his self-comparisons to Jesus (though there are photographic reasons for this) or the fact that, while Waller was bullied at school, it wasn’t initially because of either his own sexuality or because he had two mums. Well, that did happen eventually; thanks to advice from his Kate Bush-loving, non-birth mother Dawn, Waller found a way to turn things round to his advantage.
Deeper down, though, Son of Dyke is a tender, grounded show about grief. Waller’s sometimes humorous attempt to track down his biological father and then meet up with his previously unknown half-sibling are blatant attempts to fill the hole in his life left by Dawn’s death. Even more significantly, Waller decides to become a sperm donor himself: although one does wonder if that’s chiefly to get a great wank routine into the show, or to make a serious point about how much gay men now rely on the internet rather than their imaginations when it comes to reaching orgasm.
You don’t need a father to still be a man, Waller insists more than once. For all the script’s witty gay asides, there’s plenty for “straight” audiences to enjoy. After all, grief and pain are common enough human experiences. Waller’s conclusion – to accept his losses and not let it stop him bringing more people into his life – may verge on trite, but is nevertheless a dash of wisdom that’s well worth remembering and sharing.