Pros: The production has a strong beginning and Phoebe McIntosh performs with verve and enthusiasm.
Cons: Expositional dialogue takes the place of acting with unfortunate regularity. Emotionally one note.
Dominoes (as chance would have it) is the third one-person show I’ve reviewed for Everything Theatre in two weeks. It’s possible that I am becoming saturated with the form but this, admittedly competent, show fails to stand out from the crowd.
Phoebe McIntosh strides confidently onto stage. Her persona as a teacher is well developed and believable. The opening section takes place in a classroom and is the strongest part of the show. However, it sets the scene for future inconsistencies. At times the audience is the de facto class 6B; at times we are gifted asides; more often, we are thrown expositional dialogue. This frustrated me immensely. When a character is reduced to telling me, at length, how they feel, it removes the need for acting. It also robs scenes of tension and drama. It is puzzling why McIntosh made this choice, as she is clearly a talented performer.
McIntosh struggles to physically differentiate her characters and her accents are inconsistent. Perhaps as a result of this, secondary characters feel underdeveloped. I had little idea of their underlying motivations, history or relationships below a surface level. The issues raised between them are prevalent and would benefit from deeper exploration. Unfortunately, the heavy exposition limits examination of the themes to the shallows.
With fast get ins and get outs, technical issues can be expected at fringe venues. McIntosh was often cast into shadow or washed out, these are minor things but can harm the suspension of disbelief. A base costume was added to and utilised well to transition between scene and occasion.
There is undeniable potential here. I enjoyed sections of the show and, at times, the writing made me laugh. However, very little developed as the show progressed and the stakes never felt that high.
Written, directed, performed & produced by: Phoebe McIntosh
Co-directed by: Ann Akin
Box Office: 020 8617 3448
Booking Link: http://www.wandsworthfringe.com/whats-on/dominoes
Booking Until: 21 May 2017