- Katharine Gemmell
- 24 August 2018
An examination of the complexity of history and being mixed-raced
Phoebe McIntosh writes and performs this one-woman play that follows her character, Layla, as she prepares to marry. She's enamoured by the fact she shares the same surname with her husband-to-be, but Layla soon discovers that her surname, McKinnon, was that of her ancestors slave-owners and a quick internet search shows it was her fiancé's ancestors who were the masters.
As the action progresses, Layla struggles with a conflict in her identity as a mixed-race woman and whether this discovered complex history means she can't go through with the wedding. It's powerful to see the convolution of Phoebe's existence play out on stage, how she is perceived as one race or the other – when really she is both. She ultimately comes to the conclusion that she is like a domino – she can be both black and white but will always have specks of both no matter what.
McIntosh is a gifted performer who never makes the piece feel over-dramatised or unbelievable, only thought-provoking and enthralling. At times you feel that this should really be a multicast show, as the difficulties in her relationship with her best friend Laura (who disapproves of Layla marrying her ancestors' oppressors) is not as fully realised from one perspective. However, this minor quibble is to the performances favour as it just means you are left wanting more.
Assembly George Square Studios, until 29 Aug, 12pm, £9–£10.