Although it's already run in New York, this was still a preview performance for the Tricycle run, as proved by a couple of technical glitches Domingo cheerfully shrugged off; other that that it feels pretty confident. Perhaps a bit too confident, as I found it took a while to grow on me. I think there may be an element of an eagerness to please that had the opposite effect on me: Domingo is an incredibly energetic performer whose energy never lets up, but I kind of wish director Titas Halder had got him to hold back a bit in the earlier stages of the performance, and build up more gradually. The fact that he tries to forge a rapport with the audience by name-checking several 1970s American sitcoms I'd never seen was another alienating factor, and made me wonder how long it would take for his scene-setting to coalesce into a narrative.
It takes a while, but about halfway through the show it does happen. Domingo also starts to pace his performance better, leaving breathing room for his entertaining impressions of his starry-eyed mother, pragmatic stepfather, warring siblings, and his own nervously camp younger self. At its best, A Boy and His Soul is hilarious and touching, it just takes a while to get there. And the soundtrack is one any show would envy.
A Boy and His Soul by Colman Domingo is booking until the 21st of September at the Tricycle Theatre.
Running time: 1 hour 35 minutes straight through.