King’s Head Theatre
Reviewed – 18th July 2017
“Liam Mansfield is excellent as Scott the Scottish Terrier, the Sherlock Holmes of our story with a feisty attitude and a lot of tartan.”
Have you ever wondered what actually goes on in the mind of your canine friend? Does he interpret things the same way you do? Does she sense trouble a mile off? Do they know more than they are letting on?
Well fear not, as writer and director Stephanie Withers takes you on an intriguing journey of the notorious 2015 Crufts Dog Show poisoning, told from the perspective of our puppy pals.
‘Off the Middle’ is a theatre company dedicated to producing quality new-writing and creative storytelling. Liam Mansfield is excellent as Scott the Scottish Terrier, the Sherlock Holmes of our story with a feisty attitude and a lot of tartan.
Both Stephanie de Whalley and Paul Hilliar switch between radically different characters throughout the performance, from high maintenance Fluffy the Chihuahua to ex Andrex puppy star Lucy the Labrador.
Withers, herself a huge fan of dogs, plays on all the stereotypes in this work. Fluffy’s line ‘people just love a dog they can pop in their handbag’ not only makes the audience laugh but allows them to imagine the sort of person who would own a dog like Fluffy. Are dogs really similar to their owners? Delving into the competitive politics of dog shows, our characters portray just how cut-throat these events can be and how far participants are willing to go to win or defend their titles.
Highlights from the performance include the fantastic array of props (or should I say, many different sets of animal ears) the constant classic dog puns ‘barking mad’, ‘teach an old dog new tricks’ and one of my personal favourite scenes whereby our narrator, Scott the Scottish Terrier, is put on the spot to perfectly execute his dog show routine whilst preoccupied with questions about who poisoned Serena the Setter.
Can he remain a champion under all of this stress?
Reviewed by Stephanie Legg
is at The King’s Head Theatre until 20th July