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Show Review - Dominic Berry


Attempting to quantify or qualify the human being known as Dominic Berry can be quite a tricky task. 

A buzzing ball of energy, a reflective soul - the poetical man about town, Dom is now well known within the spoken word community for being not only an engaging performer, but somewhat of an ambassador for words. 

Bouncing in to spoken word events throughout the UK,  popping up in his baseball cap and tidy sneakers all over the shop - he is regularly seen...well pretty much everywhere. Whether it be in schools, at a performance evening or at one point recently, in prison (just visiting). He’s a champion for all things creative and well known for bringing what can only be described as a whirlwind of ideas to the spoken word arena. The ‘day off’ doesn’t seem to be phrase that’s made it into the Berry lexicon - even during this long Edinburgh run. 

To smash together some metaphorical & engineering terms he’s a sort of self aware dynamo - touchingly introspective about his existence - yet doing it in a way that shows his ability to shout extremely loudly to all that will hear wildly from the rooftops. And occasionally with some very angry facial expressions. And then some nice ones. And then back to angry again. That he’s brought this unswerving confidence back to Edinburgh should come as no shock to anyone. 

‘I Can Make You Fail Slightly Less’ is his latest rhythmical offering to the Fringe and it doesn’t fail to impress. Fresh from his role as poet-in-residence role at the Glastonbury Festival - the show is a tour through the psyche of Dom - a complex yet ultimately truthful ride into his love of literature, pop music, philosophy and of course - He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. 

His reflections on his family (most notably his relationship with his Mum); about trying to fit in during his formative years; his personal relationships and how an ongoing battle with Skeletor fits into all of that is a wonderfully crafted journey. It delves into those parts of life we are all too often ready to label as ‘faliures’ and re-examines them through an empathetic and non-judgemental eye. 

Dom chooses the vehicle of a “Choose your own adventure” story to deliver these lessons in relative failure - giving the audience the chance to determine the outcome, whilst bringing the exchanges comfortably back into his developed narrative - that of the fallible human being. We are reminded unapologetically that we won’t always achieve our dreams quite in the way we suspected we would - but if all else fails, there is usually a Madonna track on ‘Something to Remember’ that will get us through. 

It’s a seductive prospect - to know that in order to achieve our ambition we have to be slightly less hung up about the prospect of our failures. In a world of ever changing Armageddon stories, it’s nice to come out this summer with something positive and life affirming.

Maybe He-Man really was onto something. 

‘I Can Make You Fail Slightly Less’ is showing at Zoo Playground until Aug 26 daily at 17:20.


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