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A Dog’s Solution at Barons Court Theatre | Review

There is a school of thought out there in which it is believed that some rough sleepers are not necessarily on the streets out of necessity, with no other options. Beyoncé (Carolyn McCallion), presumably named after her superstar namesake, begins proceedings with a long monologue about her personal circumstances and some other assorted thoughts on various subjects, including how the pandemic has made people stop and think about what is really important.

A Dog’s SolutionShe lost her grandparents to the coronavirus, she says, and is essentially on the streets because her mother’s new boyfriend told her to (insert expletive) off, and she took this rather more literally than was perhaps intended. This would also explain why she hasn’t gone down the route of getting temporary accommodation at a hostel: personal pride rather than economic plight is the primary reason for her outdoor living arrangements. Still, it struck me as slightly odd that none of her relatives would appear to have made reasonable attempts to track her down. But then there are more than a few things slightly odd about this show, which has a quirky sense of humour.

Jimmy the Dog (Benedict Esdale) does much more than bark, which called to mind Brian the dog in the animated comedy television series Family Guy. Young lads and best buddies Tom (Casey Jones) and Gus (Oscar Farmer) encounter Beyoncé briefly, but their conversation largely consists of plans for the future and university studies. Old Bag Person (Chris Monplaisir) loses their grip on their possessions, which suddenly take up much of the pavement, holding up David (a sharply suited Marc Gordon), much to his chagrin. And then there’s Constansia The Lobbyist (Seden Asti Eron) who repeatedly declares, “Bugger democracy”, to whoever she’s talking to on her mobile, though hearing one side of a conversation was rather limiting in terms of discovering what specific (sub) plots were brewing.

A ‘world government’ meeting is called – notably, without anybody having achieved world domination, because (spoiler alert) its aim is to achieve world domination. Its attendees, which, by way of some fourth wall breaches, includes the audience (participation optional, FYI) are taking part in an ambitious project that seems doomed to fail from the start: as it is pointed out, if there are dissenting voices, disunity will weaken the cause. Jimmy, however, has an answer, hence the show’s title, which some may find amusing, but I found rather bland.

Some direct addresses to the audience helped to maintain interest, as did the brevity of the show: an interval was called barely half an hour into proceedings, at what turned out to be pretty much the exact halfway point. Gloriously unresolved with a sudden ending, it felt incomplete. I had no idea what was going on at times, but this seemed to add to the fun. The actors were evidently enjoying themselves on stage, which was good to see, though I am frankly at a loss to state what the underlying messages or salient points were.

3 Star Review

Review by Chris Omaweng

An absurd play about a homeless girl and their dog, politics, friendship, social issues and solutions with some light-hearted humour. We have a diverse cast of 7 actors.

Writer Richard Franklin
Director Eratle Wang
Sound Design by Dylan Winn-Davies

CAST
Beyoncé – Carolyn McCallion
Jimmy the Dog – Benedict Esdale
Old Bag Person – Chris Monplaisir
Constansia the Lobbyist – Seden Asti Eron
Tom – Casey Jones
Gus – Oscar Farmer
David – Marc Gordon

6 Sep – 2 Oct 2021 7.30pm
Barons Court Theatre W14 9HR

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