Dom – The Play

This is a strange one.

Slickly executed and intelligently observed

Rather like its lead character, it is tricky to pin down what its purpose is, and what we think of it. Perhaps this is intentional: after all, so much else about Cummings’ impudent boot imprint on the face of the country remains almost impossible to understand.

It is hard to form a positive association with someone who took such a monumental and deliberate dump on an entire country and shrugged it off in blogs and tweets so bizarrely constructed that they make the inane witterings of Donald Trump read like Mark Twain. That Cummings was one of the chief architects of so many of our current ills is not a matter of opinion; but neither is the fact that he exploited weaknesses in the camps of others with a depth of insight matched only by his breathtaking audacity. Whatever else he may or may not be guilty of, there is no denying that he fully understood the brief.

But a genius? Well, the play certainly gets that bit right. Everything is relative. And if the electorate was sufficiently gullible to believe that Johnson was the hero they needed; then they fully deserved the villain who came as part of the 2-for-1 deal.

Chris Porter is an excellent central character, beguiling the audience simply by not trying to. The familiar stoop, shrug, and beanie are all there; but those anticipating a full-on annihilation of the man are set to be disappointed. The script is rather kinder to Cummings than the amusingly drawn bit-part players (Islington Remainers, Angela Merkel, a very funny Michael Gove) and the puce-faced Honey Monster (Tim Hudson) who ended up in Number 10. From an opening which embraces us as 'misfits and weirdoes', we are methodically taken through the chronology of Cummings' inglorious tenure in Downing Street: his brainwaves, his frustrations, the well-documented struggles with his ocular health.

This is a slickly executed and intelligently observed piece, although the script perhaps lacks a little in dramatic structure and premise. Whilst it stops short of sanitising Cummings’ nefarious doings, in seeking to present him as just an ordinary bloke, there is a missed opportunity to crank up the emotional stakes. Then again, when your protagonist has already raised the national blood pressure to hypertensive crisis, maybe there is nowhere else left to go.

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Reviews by Rebecca Vines

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Dom the Play previously enjoyed a sell-out run at the The White Bear Theatre, before transferring to The Other Palace where the critically acclaimed run was extended due to popular demand. Now this hit political comedy is making its way to Edinburgh! The show explores the chief controversies of Dominic Cumming's explosive career, how he won the Brexit referendum by manipulating social media, the truth about Barnard Castle and why he finally fell out with Boris! A must-see comedy for anyone who follows the Westminster circus! **** (Times). **** (Stage).

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