Name: Phoebe McIntosh
Name of Edinburgh show: Dominoes
Venue: Assembly George Square – Studio Five
Performance time: 12:00pm
Show length: 60 mins
Ticket price: £7 – £10
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
Taking it back to the very beginning, I started performing when my mum enrolled me in a Saturday dance school aged 6! I knew early on that I didn’t want to pursue dancing as much as acting and when I was 16, I joined the National Youth Theatre. After reading English literature at York, I completed a Masters in Acting at Arts Educational London and have worked as an actress for the past 10 years. I’m now a bit of a jack of all trades with a day job as a PA. I’ve also just qualified as a Yoga Teacher, all the while continuing to perform in short films and commercials, narrate audiobooks and work on new writing projects.
Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
Dominoes is a one woman show about Layla McKinnon. She is a history teacher who is about to get married to a man whose surname she already shares. In the lead-up to the big day she discovers that the reason for this initially funny coincidence is more sinister – her enslaved ancestors were owned by her fiancé’s slave owner forefathers. With her white fiancé on one side and her black best friend on the other, mixed-race Layla is forced to pick a side. No spoilers – you’ll have to come and see the show to find out if she makes it down the aisle!
How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
I started writing it in 2015. It started as separate monologues but after watching the documentary which was to inspire the main narrative later that year (‘Britain’s Forgotten Slave Owners’ – BBC) it all started to come together. It then took a year or so to write the first draft. I’m realising how relevant this play is more and more each day. What really brought it home recently was the public response to royal engagement and then the wedding itself in May. Just like that love story, Dominoes follows a mixed-race woman who is about to marry a white man. It asks questions about identity, race and interracial relationships and embracing diversity – these are all topics currently (and rightly) on people’s tongues and I’m excited to add to the discussion with this play.
Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
I’d say, don’t be afraid to throw yourself into the action. The scale of the event and the choice on offer can be a bit overwhelming and there’s definitely a danger of FOMO either because things sell out or because you haven’t come across it in the brochure, but make the fringe your own, and you’ll have an amazing time. Be willing to take a punt on something.
See a mixture of well-known and unknown acts. I remember going to see a mime show just by chance last time I went to the fringe. It wasn’t the type of thing I’d normally see, but it was brilliant – so moving and unexpected. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Oh, and say no to that late night/early morning kebab and those chips drenched in gravy. You’ll thank me later.
What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
I know I’m probably jinxing myself by saying this, but I’ve been pretty lucky when I’ve been on stage so far. No trips, falls or line fluffs of note! I hope I’m not speaking too soon. Anything could happen during the Fringe…
Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
Michaela Coel is a leading light for writer/ performers like me. She is incredibly driven and has achieved some amazing things with her solo show (and later screen adaptation), Chewing Gum Dreams. I would love to follow in her footsteps with Dominoes.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Lately, the only things I seem to be able to eat before going on stage are bananas and ginger beer. Weird! I think I’ll be taking plenty of both to the Fringe with me this year.
What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
Luisa Omielan! I saw a sneak preview of her set at the launch for the joint venture brochure and previously saw ‘What Would Beyoncé Do’. I think she’s hilarious. I’m also a ‘Showstoppers’ (impromptu musical extraordinaires) virgin so will be making my way down to one of their shows.
Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the fringe?
Dominoes is a show that anyone can relate to. It’s for anyone who has ever asked themselves the question, “Who am I?” The conflict for the main character is huge and I think audiences will be absorbed by how she rationalises things and how she deals with her dilemma. I hope the story will grab people’s attention and resonate with their own thoughts about identity and what it means to be different, as well as the trials and tribulations of wedding planning, which I’m sure lots of people can empathise with!