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In The Shadow of the Black Dog at Edinburgh Fringe | Review

In The Shadow of the Black DogThere has been, with justification, increasing concern about the number of young male suicides in today’s Britain. This monologue, written and performed by Daniel Hallissey, follows an ongoing trend in contemporary plays where everything is going smoothly in life, bar first world problems, before a critical incident comes along and throws everything into disharmony. Hallissey’s character, the unusually named Alquist, begins with some toilet humour before moving onto some anecdotes about his past relationships (if indeed some of them can even be called that). The comedy element isn’t for everyone – “the sex was so intense, even Godot finally came” is typical of the ‘take it or leave it’ approach of the play.

The narrative, therefore, includes the dissemination of Too Much Information – a prostate examination is, for instance, described in considerable detail. But it demonstrates that there is little, if anything, that is worth being too embarrassed about. The play’s messages about reaching out, talking things through and not suffering in silence, ring out loud and clear. The ‘black dog’ of the play’s title, depression, looms large over a close friend of Alquist – and Alquist himself has his own brush with death. Character development is good, even if some will interpret Alquist to be a downright misogynist. An engaging show that reveals the deeper vulnerabilities of an outwardly confident and assertive alpha male.

4 stars

Review by Chris Omaweng

IN THE SHADOW OF THE BLACK DOG, written by Daniel Hallissey and presented by ALL THE PIGS, tells the story of Alquist.

An endearing, raw comedy, the story takes place in the present, while the narrative includes flashbacks that inform the audience of significant events from his past and the motivations that lead Alquist to challenge his beliefs about what it means to be a man in today’s world.

Writer / Performer Daniel Hallissey
Director Conor Neaves
Assistant Director Laura Singleton
Set, Costume, Lighting Designer Pete Butler
Sound Designer James Nicholson
Producer All The Pigs Ltd
Booking to 23rd August 2019
https://www.edfringe.com/

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