Review: My Dad Wrote a Porno (yes, you read that right…)

It’s the podcast phenomenon that everyone’s talking about, so we went along to a live reading to see what the hype is all about.

Belinda Blinks…drink! This phrase, which was a constant refrain from the show at Symphony Hall last night, may mean absolutely nothing to you. But if it does, you must be one of the millions to download one of the most successful podcasts of recent years – My Dad Wrote a Porno, the live version of which rolled into Birmingham to the delight (and sometimes horror) of its legions of fans.

For those not yet familiar, My Dad Wrote a Porno was the brainchild of Jamie Morton, who in 2015 discovered that his father had written an extremely smutty book entitled ‘Belinda Blinked’ under the pen name Rocky Flintstone.

When Jamie read the book, rather than move to Outer Mongolia and never speak to his father again, he decided to create a podcast in which he would read a chapter each week accompanied by his two bemused friends, James Cooper and Radio 1’s Alice Levine.

Since then, the podcast has gone from an initial cult hit to a certified cultural phenomenon, as it has garnered over 100 million downloads and acclaim from all around the world. In fact, before Birmingham was treated to Rocky’s eye-watering prose, the trio had taken the show on a sell-out tour of North America.

It’s not hard to see why the concept has become so popular. Not only were we treated to the usual laughs that the book provides – the questionable grammar, the inconsequential details, the excruciating and often inaccurate descriptions of the human body – the chemistry between those on stage was obvious, but also inclusive, making for a show that has retained its homespun charm and connection to its fans.

They even brought wine on to the stage and encouraged the crowd to play along with their drinking game, where a sip is taken every time the book offers up one of its over-used descriptions or scenarios.

In this live version, we were given a reading of a ‘lost chapter’ of the book in which protagonist Belinda takes her colleagues on a weekend of ‘team building’. Needless to say, the story soon descends into a graphic yet unfathomable orgy. A particularly memorable line was: “He entered her clitoris”, prompting much laughter from the crowd and then Levine to get up to present a full-on PowerPoint presentation on female genitalia.

Another part saw audience members brought up to attempt to re-enact one of the scenes of the book in order to see whether the confusing descriptions of body part placement were actually possible in real life. Spoiler alert – they weren’t. With red faces, the volunteers awkwardly attempted, but ultimately failed to keep up with the story to raucous laughs.

In a venue that is more used to hosting evenings of refined classical performances, it was strangely satisfying to spend an evening in the company of Belinda and her questionable morals – and Symphony Hall certainly agreed – Birmingham blinked…

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