Who’s Your Daddy?
- Kirstyn Smith
- 23 August 2012
This article is from 2012
Poorly presented account of Johnny O’Callaghan's bizarre true-life tale
Johnny O’Callaghan went to Africa in the pits of a deep depression in the hope that spending time there would somehow increase his chances of dying. He came back the father of a small Ugandan boy. His one-man show, starkly set and told, it feels, in real time, paints an almost unbelievable picture of his time spent making a documentary in an orphanage, the serendipitous meeting of his son-to-be and the arduous fight against authorities to get them back to the US as a pair. It’s a terribly trite retelling of the whole affair, particularly the squirm-inducing ‘fateful’ coincidences he notices upon first meeting Benson (‘he has a birthmark in the whites of his eye in the shape of Ireland’) and O’Callaghan’s tendency to allow his voice to rise at the end of most sentences which flavours his already clichéd monologues with a needless sense of incredulity. He doesn’t portray himself as a particularly likeable character, comparing himself to both Princess Diana and, bizarrely, Michael Jackson while spending time with the orphans (but not, he is at pains to point out, Angelina Jolie), but without showing any signs of having matured by the end of the show. It is a heart-warming tale, but a lack of subtlety in its telling and overacting that borders on annoying means you might not root for him to succeed in his quest as much as perhaps you should.