Orlando Baxter: Finding Mariah   (4 stars)

Orlando Baxter: Finding Mariah  

Purging hour about dysfunctional parenting

Of all the bad life choices made by Orlando Baxter's mum, surely the worst was her decision to shack up with Willy in the first place. Willy, as we discover in this wonderfully engaging monologue, is Baxter's biological father and prime candidate for America's 'most dysfunctional dad'. Having planted his seed, he disappears for ten years until making a sudden, brief reappearance to reconnect with his son. It sounds like Willy's finally doing the right thing, or would be had he not proceeded to screw up his re-entry big time.

In Baxter's telling, decades after the event, it becomes a painfully funny story, which tells you something about the therapeutic power of comedy. Come the end, the audience is well and truly hooked by this charismatic performer who knows when to pause and when to slow things right down. As the story unfolds we hear of possible sisters, though none resembling Mariah Carey, which in Willy's deluded mind means that they can't possibly be his progeny.

Before long he's claiming the credit for his kids' success, and by the end, you're left wondering if that decision by Baxter's mum wasn't so awful after all. The world and this year's Fringe would be much poorer without Orlando Baxter and this story.

The Stand 2, until 24 Aug (not 12), 5.05pm, £10 (£9).

Orlando Baxter: Finding Mariah

  • 4 stars

Orlando Baxter / The Stand Comedy Club Orlando Baxter explores the struggles of trying to reconnect with an absentee parent and the conversation that led to him discovering that he might have a half-sister. Orlando is an internationally touring American stand-up comedian, with a late-night television debut on the show…

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