Much like a dramatisation of a family game of Monopoly, Dough looks at money with a kind of argumentative helplessness. Written and directed by Molière award-winning David Lescot, we follow main character Me, played by New York’s Zach Lusk, who resents the capitalist game and the parents who force him to play it, arguing and sulking his way through a lifetime condensed into one hour.
A slick play about money that reaches only slightly below surface level to grasp at a handful of slimy dollars
That’s not to say Dough is not enjoyable. It’s a slick hour of entertainment, made to sparkle with professional pacing from Compagnie du Kaïros’ cast of three, with impressive range from co-stars Matthew Brown and Hannah Mitchell who play as many as 40 characters between them.
Bound up in its own momentum much like today’s financial markets, Dough is unstoppable, barely giving time to pause and think. Perhaps this is intentional, a reflection on the way many of us live our lives, slaves to a system that bleeds us dry. Without the time to contemplate, however, none of us has a chance to think differently. Me goes from one failed love affair to another, reluctantly adding child support to his long list of outgoings, seemingly learning nothing beyond the power of money.
Working-class characters and communists are played for laughs and lack compassion, in comparison to Lescot’s alter ego who is judged more lightly than he deserves, a victim of his middle-class privilege.
Even the decrepit funeral director played by Brown saves his monologue to talk of the economic challenge of selling coffins. This moment has the potential to serve as a philosophical turning point for our protagonist as he enters the latter stages of his life, but all it does is instil more money-grabbing fear in Me.
Despite the promise of Dough, the writing isn’t as deep as one might hope. Rather than being a sharp takedown of capitalist culture, instead, Dough reaches only slightly below surface level to grasp at a handful of slimy dollars.