Theater review: 'Who's Your Daddy?' at the Little Victory Theatre
Unemployed, promiscuous, a recreational drug user and, worst of all, Irish: Johnny O’Callaghan isn’t exactly Ward Cleaver. But an African orphan transforms this genial reprobate in “Who’s Your Daddy?,” O’Callaghan’s buoyant solo show celebrating the adoption of his son, now at the Little Victory Theatre.
After his rocker boyfriend dumps him, O’Callaghan takes an impromptu trip to Uganda, helping a friend document conditions at a mosquito-ravaged orphanage. There he falls for the 3-year-old boy abandoned by HIV-positive parents, a tough toddler O’Callaghan names Odin, after the Norse god. It’s love at first hug, but the would-be dad first has to overcome gun-wielding rebels, corruption, bureaucratic red tape, rigorous home inspections and the dysfunctional legacy of his own family. His battling parents, he notes, are “still together 50 years later … maybe that’s why I have sex with so many people I don’t like.”
O’Callaghan is a charmer — think Denis Leary’s puckish younger brother — and his infectious comedy helps distract from the bumpy storytelling. The show can feel scattershot, and O’Callaghan and director Tom Ormeny might take another pass to give the piece more dramatic shape. But this writer-performer’s irreverent insights keep the evening sharp: “Some people wonder if me raising [Odin] might make him gay. Why aren’t they concerned I might make him Irish?”
Now sell your sweet, saucy adoption story to the movies, Johnny, and put that kid through college.
-- Charlotte Stoudt
“Who’s Your Daddy?” The Little Victory Theatre, 3326 W. Victory Blvd., Burbank. 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 4 p.m. Sundays. Ends Dec. 18. $24-$34. Contact: (818) 841-5422 or www.thevictorytheatrecenter.org. Running time: 1 hour, 40 minutes.
Photo: Johnny O’Callaghan. Credit: Nancy Savan.