THE DOMINO HEART
by Matthew Edison.
Finborough Theatre above The Finborough Arms 118 Finborough Road SW10 9ED To 18 February 2014.
Sun-Mon 7.30pm Tue 2pm.
Runs 1hr 20min No interval.
TICKETS: 0844 847 1652 (24hr).
www.finboroughtheatre.co.uk (no booking fees by ‘phone or online).
Review: Timothy Ramsden 9 February.
Clever, well-balanced play with heart and mind.
It’s a strange title. Dominoes are known for knocking one another over. Suitably spaced, upending one can lead whole rows to go tumbling down. Yet the heart of Canadian Matthew Edison’s title is more like a dam-busters’ bomb, it goes bouncing along, starting when Cara’s husband is killed in a car accident and his heart is donated to elderly clergyman Mortimer Wright.
Yet, for reasons that become apparent, it’s finally inserted into financier Leo Juarez. As he merrily explains, he makes a fortune as a parasite, buying and selling instantly in differently-priced markets. No risk – worldwide information’s gathered on screens, the money’s not his own. But in his thirties youthful fizz drives through his middle-ageing arteries to heart disease.
So the heart stops where the bucks are piled. And it’s no accident. No-one can queue-jump the waiting-list. But what if the hospital’s owned by the company that’s owned by the company that Leo makes money for? Never say never.
Edison structures his play in separate monologues, aptly given the characters live separate lives, before a final section hints at a sense of connection reflecting their involvement in one story, however separate their segments.
Fate – or Finborough scheduling – has been kind to him, and to director Jane Jeffery; Sunday to Tuesday productions at the theatre have to play on the set of another production; in this case it is a minimal, functional design which fits Domino Heart as much as its repertoire companion Carthage. Skeletal furniture keeps each character in a kind of pen from where they contribute their part of the story.
The underlying irony is that the essentially benevolent – those who ‘have a heart’ – search-out guilt in themselves and end-up giving or not receiving the heart, which goes to the rich opportunist who’s open about his self-centred approach to life. The others talk about people; Leo focuses on acquisition.
Rob Cavazos gives him a confidence that defies criticism, while Lawrence Werber’s cleric has a calm authority contrasting the other man’s smooth brashness. Amanda Hale portrays Cara’s sense of loss and self-questioning clearly, if sometimes with somewhat self-conscious agitation.
Cara Fortree: Amanda Hale.
Rev Mortimer Wright: Lawrence Werber.
Leo Juarez: Rob Cavazos.
Director: Jane Jeffery.
Designer: Jacob Hughes.
Lighting: Ben Cowens.
Sound: Dan Jefferies.
Movement: Gail Sixsmith.
Assistant director: Patrick Maubert.