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Dough by David Lescot at Edinburgh Fringe

Of course this show is relatable: it’s about money. If you don’t have any, neither did the central character (Zach Lusk) to begin with – and this story starts at the very beginning, with pocket money that simply accumulates because, with board and lodging already paid for because that’s how childhood should be in a stable home, and it’s not like he can pop out to the shops on his own to buy things. Then there’s the tooth fairy.

Dough, credit to Something For The Weekend.
Dough, credit to Something For The Weekend.

Translated from French, the English-speaking cast have American accents, though the story hasn’t been relocated, with talk of francs and the switch to euros. It could, ultimately, be set almost anywhere in the industrialised world – the challenges of urban living and managing income and expenditure are broadly similar wherever you are. There’s talk of the specific state benefits available to him at given points in his life, especially with regards to child support. He knows there’s more to life than money. But the way in which society is structured in the modern era means, like many people, there are certain choices he makes in life that he might not otherwise have made were it not for his financial situation at any given moment.

Matthew Brown and Hannah Mitchell cover at least three dozen characters that come into the central character’s life. I feel I should call him something: let’s call him The Money Man. We discover little, if anything at all, about most of these miscellaneous others – on the other hand, is there really any point in providing, for example, a backstory of an exasperated department store employee dealing with The Money Man trying to negotiate a discount on a vacuum cleaner? The brisk pace of the show requires one’s concentration – allow your mind to wander, even for a moment, and I would imagine it could be quite difficult to catch up.

This isn’t, unsurprisingly, a show to be enjoyed by those who prefer escapism when attending the theatre, tackling as it does the perils of real life head-on. There’s wit and humour throughout, and it’s difficult not to feel some empathy for someone who has done his best, financially and in other ways, but still finds himself unable to afford a suitable wedding present for his daughter. An engaging and bittersweet production, it might not have much to say that we don’t know already, but the observational comedy is – wait for it – on the money.

4 stars

Review by Chris Omaweng

A darkly comic drama from internationally acclaimed Molière Theatre Award-winner, David Lescot.

Explore a lifetime through one person’s daily interactions with money, and the transactions we engage in to build a life – from the Tooth Fairy to negotiating with the funeral director.

“You can’t keep accumulating all the time, you see… You can’t always be gaining, earning, winning; you need to lose as well. We need loss.”

Unfolding at a fast pace, three actors bring over forty characters to life in one hour.

Landing in Edinburgh direct from New York, Dough is written and directed by Lescot – associate artist of the renowned Théâtre de la Ville in Paris. With Dough he makes his Edinburgh Fringe debut.


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