Assembly George Square Studios, Edinburgh
Phoebe McIntosh’s monologue, Dominoes, is a thought-provoking, engaging piece of work, a prime example of how this particular form lends itself so well to the Fringe. It tells the tale of Layla McKinnon, a young history teacher whose fiancé shares her surname, a quirk of fate that first amuses them but soon threatens their relationship. Layla is mixed race, ‘in the middle’, not particularly interested in racial politics. But revelations about her ancestry force her to consider how the past shapes the present, to make decisions about who she is and how she wants to live.
It’s a weighty subject, but it’s handled here with wit and warmth; McIntosh is a charismatic performer, and there are laughs a-plenty alongside the serious stuff. This is not a judgemental piece; all of the characters in Layla’s story are given space to air their disparate views, which effectively gives us – the audience – permission to interrogate our own identities, our own preconceptions, our own ideas of who we want to be.
The direction, by Stephen Wrentmore, is sprightly; there’s a real lightness of touch. Layla’s wedding dress, for example, dangling from a coat hanger, serves as a reminder throughout of what’s at stake, almost like the ghost of a character, Layla’s potential future self.
An intimate play for an intimate venue; McIntosh deserves to play to a full house every day. Take the opportunity to check this one out. It’s really very good.