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Schrödinger’s Dog at the White Bear Theatre | Review

Schrödinger's Dog at the White Bear Theatre - Ali Wright
Schrödinger’s Dog at the White Bear Theatre – Ali Wright

The Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger (1887-1961) came up with the idea known as ‘Schrödinger’s cat’, involving the application of quantum mechanics to, well, a cat in a sealed box. As the theory (or ‘hypothetical experiment’) is not fully explained in this production of Schrödinger’s Dog – where the same theory is instead applied to a dog – it is, mercifully, not necessary to go into too much detail here, and any interested parties can read up about it elsewhere. But here’s a (sort of) spoiler: no actual dogs were harmed in this production, because no actual dogs appear in this production.

The same cannot be said for many of the characters, who are, one way or another, psychologically scarred by what happens, if not physically so as well. Madeline (Lynne Jefferies) suffers the most, though a no-nonsense approach towards her housemate Hugo (Monty Jones) drives Barbara (Lindsey-Anne Barnes) to seek revenge against curt words. In a week in which yet another killing by knife crime has taken place in London, I was not, I must admit, entirely on board with the use of a knife being freely wielded about in a comedy (albeit a dark one) on the London stage.

The production itself shows no displays of bad timing – it’s fairly slick, and if the stage is left bare for a short while this only serves to let the audience recover from the hard-hitting (in more ways than one) and hilarious nature of the proceedings. The play takes a while to get going, but once it hits its stride, there’s no stopping the comic momentum once it is firmly established. Chuks (Aaron Phinehas Peters), a pizza delivery driver who suddenly gets tied up by Hugo (for reasons that remain unclear to me, but, you know, suspension of disbelief and all that) introduces the already unconventional central character to ‘weed’, because if he (Chuks) is tied to a chair for the night he might as well be high at the same time.

One would, therefore, be forgiven for thinking that perhaps the show is somehow pro-drugs: a cruel twist in the narrative soon puts paid to that notion. Elsewhere, there’s the occasional stereotype – Aunt Jemima (Rowena Bentley) is that older person who isn’t altogether there, whilst Barbara is the meek, helpful and forgiving person who suddenly switches and goes on the rampage (or, to be kinder, she discovers a more assertive side). Some serious points are made during the show about depression and suicide, though the context in which those issues are explored does not allow for much in the way of deep analysis, aside from a speech by Chuks. The emphasis is instead on the humour.

A hilarious subplot involving Nick (Dominic Weatherill), who lives in the flat upstairs, and his lover Simon (Luke Francis) runs through most of the play. Simon’s fury boils over repeatedly after he discovers Nick has been spending time in Hugo’s flat: even the Buzz Lightyear costume Hugo wears for much of the first half is a cause for frustration. “You wouldn’t even put on a fireman’s helmet for me!” he moans at Nick.

For some in the audience at the performance I attended, the show had a couple of ‘head in hands’ moments. Surprisingly delightful, and with a soundtrack mostly comprised of familiar chart music tunes, there’s a definite fringe factor in this anarchic and boisterous show.

4 stars

Review by Chris Omaweng

Hugo wants to kill himself. Well, that’s not true. He doesn’t really want to die, he just doesn’t want to exist anymore. It’s complicated. Well, it was complicated, then he accidentally kidnapped a pizza delivery boy and now things are really complicated. Schrödinger’s Dog follows a man on the edge as he’s slowly forced to take seven people hostage who all have the potential to save or destroy him.

Break The ‘Verse return to the White Bear with their latest show: Schrödinger’s Dog, written by Monty Jones and directed by Dom Riley. This piece takes a darkly comic look at the epidemic of male suicide with an LGBTQ+ slant, exploring the difficulty of seeking help in a world where men aren’t supposed to cry and millions are stuck on waiting lists.

Creative Team
Break the Verse presents:
Written by Monty Jones
Directed by Dom Riley

Schrödinger’s Dog
by Monty Jones
23rd Oct – 3rd Nov 2018
https://www.whitebeartheatre.co.uk/

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