Tag Archives: Chris Porter

Dom - the Play

Dom – The Play


The Other Palace

DOM – THE PLAY at The Other Palace


Dom - the Play

“a delightfully fresh and hilarious insight into the man who thinks the civil service is an “idea for history books””


Political satire is nothing new. Wherever organised government has existed it has always been inevitable. From Aristophanes to Dante to Shakespeare, and beyond. In some parts of the globe, it can lead to arrest, and worse. Thankfully not here (for now at least). Our small screens are full of it. Newspaper cartoonists are experts at it and literature is awash with it. And, of course, theatre cannot resist it.

Neil Green’s new comedy, “DOM the play”, opens on such a strong note that we wonder where it can go from here and whether it can sustain the level of sharp observation and comedy for the next two hours. The fact that it can is not just testament to the writing, but also to the performances of the four actors who occupy the stage at the Other Palace, mere meters away from where the real-life action takes place. But Green does have an advantage: the past few years have offered up some pretty rich pickings.

“DOM the play” is not just all about Dominic Cummings. Obviously, he is the main man, but co-star Boris Johnson tries to bumble his way into the spotlight, casting his dubious and ridiculous shadow over various allies and opponents. Yet it is Cummings who comes out on top. Art imitating life? You decide.

Here’s a competition. If you were given a list of quotations, would you be able to tell which are fact and which came from the writer’s keen imagination?

Chris Porter is Dominic Cummings. Outspoken and confidant he unashamedly gives us his views and versions of events, shining a light on the Brexit shenanigans, Barnard Castle, Covid, and Boris. Porter gives a quite simply stunning performance. Tracing the journey from Boris Johnson’s key confidant to worst enemy, he portrays an impossible character, but achieves the impossible feat of making him likeable (note – any references to the real-life Dominic Cummings are objective observation – based purely on the UK media’s impartial representation of him – and not a personal opinion at all).

The show offers a delightfully fresh and hilarious insight into the man who thinks the civil service is an “idea for history books” (Cummings). The man who proclaims, “I’m not a genius – everyone else is a dick” (Green). The Barnard Castle is glossed over and brushed aside. Durham Constabulary took no action over the trip, so what’s the big deal? The “£350m million a week for the NHS” he invented was discredited. So? And Brexit? The Foreign Office couldn’t negotiate themselves “out of a paper bag” (Cummings or Green – you decide. See what I mean?)

Tim Hudson, as Boris Johnson, is equally delightful. Accusations of caricature are irrelevant when portraying an already larger than life caricature. The beauty of the performances stem from the balance of scorn and affection, and the sheer humour. Some sensitive and contentious issues are addressed, but we never forget that this is entertainment. And the joy we feel from the cast members is infectious. Rebecca Todd and David Mildon, between them, appear as Cummings’ friends and foes (mainly the latter) including David Cameron, Nicola Sturgeon, Nigel Farage, Tony Blair, John Prescott, Angela Markel, Prince Andrew, Theresa May, among others. Todd and Mildon complete the quartet with an acute eye for the mannerisms and accents. Without any costume change they switch characters seamlessly and convincingly, eschewing impersonation for realism.

Michael Kingsbury’s fast paced direction propels the action without a dip. There is barely a pause for the frequent laughter to die down. The jokes are as remorseless and shameless as the characters are unrepentant. The comedy derives from its honesty. It is only when we get home that the unsettling reality seeps in. It’s funny on stage – but the carnival of buffoons exists in real life. When Cummings backed up Johnson over the post-Brexit deal for Northern Ireland, he stated that Boris hadn’t lied in the election campaign because he “never had a scoobydoo what the deal he signed meant in the first place”. That’s not Green’s script. It’s verbatim.

Art imitating life? Not quite. The characters might not be remembered so favourably, but “DOM the play” will surely be recalled as a triumph.


Reviewed on 22nd February 2023

by Jonathan Evans


Recently reviewed at this venue:


Millennials | ★★★ | July 2022
Glory Ride | ★★★ | November 2022
Ghosted – Another F**king Christmas Carol | ★★★★★ | December 2022

Click here to read all our latest reviews


The Delights Of Dogs And The Problems Of People


Old Red Lion Theatre

The Delights Of Dogs And The Problems Of People

The Delights Of Dogs And The Problems Of People

Old Red Lion Theatre

Reviewed – 9th January 2020



“however hard it may be to watch, it constantly grabs the attention”


A two-hander about the breakdown of a marriage compared to the loyalty shown by pet dogs might seem an odd take on the oft-dramatised subject of relationships, but in Rosalind Blessed’s play The Delights of Dogs and the Problems of People it becomes a nuanced and unsettling affair.

Staged as part of a double bill of her work at the Old Red Lion Theatre, Islington (alongside Lullabies for the Lost), there’s an opportunity to see each piece as an individual drama or across an afternoon and evening. Both are well worth seeing.

The title of this play, first seen four years ago, might suggest a jaunty romcom but the truth of the hard-hitting drama is far more harrowing. What starts out as a tender and quirky love story involving a couple who met while at university unravels into a terrifying 70 minutes of obsession, possessiveness and violence.

In some exceptionally clever and mature writing, Blessed constantly shifts the balance (and audience sympathies) between the pair who have been married for five years, yet separated for two of them.

On the one hand is James, an easy-going charmer desperate to save his marriage (he describes himself sadly as a “very nearly ex-husband”) and convincing when he tells friends that he has no idea why things are breaking down so badly. It is an intricate performance from Duncan Wilkins, who even draws members of the audience into his side of the argument.

But as the cracks begin to show we discover a manipulative monster who wants to “put his wife back together,” a hateful tyrant who refuses to accept the truth or to understand his wife’s delicate mental state.

Blessed gives an equally fine performance as Robin (the same character from Lullabies for the Lost, but in an alternate universe version), whose insecurities about her image and low self esteem leave her vulnerable. She is unable to let go of the damaging relationship yet her true feelings are exposed shockingly when she cries out “I never want any man to own any part of me ever again.”

This see-saw relationship never seems less than believable and Blessed has admitted that parts of it are drawn from experience, which certainly comes out in vivid writing and performance.

The unconditional love of a dog is contrasted with the volatility of a partner who swings between unbridled declarations of affection and rage caused by too much drink and an unwillingness to accept the end of a relationship. In a clever twist when we see the loyal Staffie he is played by Wilkins, who is so much in character that he sniffs the legs of audience members or sneezes into their faces.

As the layers are unpeeled we begin to understand the truth of the situation, which builds to a horrific climax. With domestic abuse not all the scars are visible, with words having the terrible power to wound, yet psychotic behaviour will ultimately cause an individual to lose control.

Director Caroline Devlin understands the strength of the script and allows the words and characters to tell their own story while Anna Kezia’s cardboard box white set (shared with Lullabies for the Lost) is simple but multi-functional.

It is the sort of well-written and acted drama that inevitably comes with its own warning about the distressing content and will resonate uncomfortably with many. But however hard it may be to watch, it constantly grabs the attention, providing a darker but important facet to understanding the truth about relationships – and how we might treat each other better.


Reviewed by David Guest

Photography by Natalie Wells


The Delights Of Dogs And The Problems Of People

Old Red Lion Theatre until 1st February


Last ten shows reviewed at this venue:
In Search Of Applause | ★★ | February 2019
Circa | ★★★★ | March 2019
Goodnight Mr Spindrift | ★★ | April 2019
Little Potatoes | ★★★ | April 2019
The Noises | ★★★★ | April 2019
Flinch | ★★★ | May 2019
The Knot | ★★★★ | June 2019
Edred, The Vampyre | ★★★½ | October 2019
Last Orders | ★★★ | October 2019
Blood Orange | ★★★★ | December 2019


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