Review: Dominoes at the Crossroads.

Dominoes at the Crossroads Dominoes at the Crossroads

One would think that after over half of a century of working in the theatre I would know what a play is. Dominoes at the Crossroads, based on the novel by Kaie Kellough, and adapted adn directed by Zach Fraser, was a fast paced terrific journey through the black experience in Canada from early slavery and the story of Angelique to the present. It is more of a performance piece than a play, and it covers the revolutions and rebellions of the Caribbean through the computer fiasco at Sir George Williams University. and the police shootings in Montreal North.

I am a big fan of popular and political theatre and collective creations, and this was a wonderful example of both. The only setback was that there was too much territory covered in too little time and some of the issues and scenarios did not get the development they warranted to tell a complete story. For example there was a jeep carrying some very menacing characters, but we never learned who exactly they were, and why they were so very frightening.

The ensemble acting by Jeremy Lewis, Kym Dominique-Ferguson and Alexandra Laferrière was spectacular. Their performances flowed from persona to persona and they had a masterful way of delivering a huge amount of information. Laferrière also had the shape shifter’s magical ability to slip from gender to gender. Also worth mentioning, were the clever and innovative sound effects. Julia Lenardon did a fabulous job of teaching the many dialects needed to tell these multiple stories, and Zach Fraser was able to create a delightful flow in his blocking.

The epic theme of addressing a diaspora and trying to find roots was moving. As someone who was born in a refugee camp, I was deeply touched. The adaptation of any literary work for the stage is very challenging and this was a good effort. It does make one want to read the book.

It is worth it to weather the wind and cold and find your way to the MAI to see this innovative work.

A poetic ode to the epic and universal search for home and belonging, Dominoes at the Crossroads is running until March 16 at the MAI (3680 Jeanne-Mance). Tickets available HERE.