Orlando Baxter: Finding Mariah
- Tom Bruce-Gardyne
- 9 August 2019
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).