Dominic Berry believes in choices. The type of choice you make inspires the consequences that unfold around you. He comes out before the show even begins, he makes small talk and his warmth and kindness envelop all of us in the queue. He gives us paper and asks us to write down our dreams, and he asks one person if they’d care to be his volunteer for the show. By the time we walk in, it feels like we already know Berry and we know what his show will be about. The aptly named I Can Make You Fail Slightly Less is an optimistic and honest look at various ways people find success that will leave you feeling wholesome and hopeful.
The Glastonbury Festival poet-in-residence takes us through his own life story, obsessing over He-Man and choose-your-own-adventure books. He uses these as media in which to discuss how he has grown as a person, despite various setbacks along the way. It is deeply personal and profound, as Berry recognizes his own privileges as well as the need to listen to others. The one change the show could use is a larger venue; Berry thrives off of audience interaction, and even the packed house can barely match Berry’s energy levels.
Berry makes audience interaction feel natural and spontaneous. He surveys audience members and talks to his pre-chosen volunteer about what they want to achieve, and how some people don’t listen to them. The penultimate bit of the show is where he brings up his volunteer to play Berry’s new choose-your-own-adventure story, as they make choice after choice in increasingly absurd scenarios. The show concludes on an incredible feat of lyricism as Berry rhymes couplets using the dreams we had written down, to begin with.
Witty, deep, and occasionally a little crazy, I Can Make You Fail Slightly Less is a wonderful show that will have audiences reflecting as much as they find themselves laughing. A charismatic entertainer and a talented poet, Berry brings a wonderfully unique show to the Fringe this year that showcases the best of him and the best of people.
I Can Make You Fail Slightly Less was on at ZOO Playground – Playground 3
Image: Dominic Berry