Dom Mackie’s Poor Life Choices (Dom Mackie) 2019 Toronto Fringe Review

Photo of Dom Mackie in Dom Mackie's Poor Life Choices

Dom Mackie’s Poor Life Choices (playing at the Toronto Fringe Festival) mines a well-established comedy coalface. Mackie talks us through some of his most humiliating, vulnerable and revelatory experiences, and we cringe and laugh along with him. For such a young man, he’s got a wealth of stories, and he’s also got the performance instincts of someone who’s paid his dues dodging bottles at open-mic nights.

Photo of Dom Mackie in Dom Mackie's Poor Life Choices

What I’m going to remember about Mackie is his energy, and the ease with which he works the room. The lottery saddled him with a cavernous venue, but he amps up his own energy to keep the audience on their toes and engaged in the set.

I thought the material was fine, but I wished he’d taken it deeper and further. A good example: one of his earliest bits turns upon a piece of advice which, if he explored it, could have sustained an hour-long show all by itself. Instead, it’s used to set up a dick joke, and then we move on.

I found myself hoping he’d pick up a throughline to thread his stories together, or fold them back in at the end: the overall framing device (poor life choices!) basically works, but it’s also older than vaudeville, and you can see a set with exactly that basis four nights a week at the Yuk-Yuk’s nearest you.

You won’t, however, see Mackie there:  the material needs some workshopping (perhaps at a Fringe festival?), but the performance is where it needs to be, and if he shows up at Just For Laughs in a few years, you may very well regret not seeing him for $13 when you had the chance.


  • Dom Mackie’s Poor Life Choices plays at the Robert Gill Theatre. (214 College St.)
  • Tickets are $13, including a $2 service charge. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes and discounts for serious Fringers.
  • Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Festival Box Office at Scadding Court (275 Bathurst St.), and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
  • Content Warnings: mature language; sexual content; audience participation; for adult audiences.
  • This venue is wheelchair-accessible through usage of a painfully slow elevator. We recommend making sure you arrive a few minutes early.
  • Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
  • The Toronto Fringe Festival is scent-free: please do not wear perfumes, colognes, or other strongly-scented products.


  • Friday July 5th, 9:45 pm
  • Saturday July 6th, 2:45 pm
  • Sunday July 7th, 8:00 pm
  • Monday July 8th, 10:00 pm
  • Tuesday July 9th, 3:15 pm

Photographs of Dom Mackie by Nic Donovan.