From the pen of Steven Berkoff, these two short plays offer two vastly different stories, and a chance for ThreeDumb Theatre to show off their flexibility. ThreeDumb was formed in 2015, by LIPA graduates who have since gone on to produce plays such as Am I Happy Yet which received an OffComm Award, and their multiple award-winning digital offering Edgar Allan Poe’s The Black Cat, and One Man Poe.
Dog follows the relationship of a graffiti spraying, racist football hooligan who is devoted to his dog, Roy. The two are inseparable and Roy accompanies his devoted owner wherever he goes, even eating pies at the pub with him. It is fair to say that Roy the pit-bull, is not the friendliest of dogs, savaging anyone who crosses his path, but he is a friend to his skinhead owner.
Stephen Smith portrays this dog loving skinhead by using mime for the first few minutes of the play and takes on the role of both dog and human. Smith’s skills as a mime are incredible to watch, his diligence and presence on stage make this rather aggressive man’s relationship with his dog, a joy to watch.
The second of the two plays Actor offers an insight into the trials and tribulations of an actor’s life. Part mime, part spoken word, Smith, dressed in all black with a white face and white gloves, communicates the frustrations of this profession with his endless rounds of auditions with no success. The addition of a beatbox loop station, helps to create a background soundscape and the combination of the actor running on the spot and the rhythm from the beatbox, make this into both a visual and acoustic experience. Smith oozes resentment, as his actor meets other actors who have work, and his treatment of his several wives, make it understandable why they left him. We are left to ponder if Berkoff modelled his actor on anyone in particular, or if this is just a generalist portrayal, but I guess we will never know.
Overall, both short plays allow ThreeDumb Theatre to showcase their skills in physical theatre, and without the need for any set or props, this show could pop-up anywhere, if the tech is available. I would not hesitate to recommend this show, go along soon, as it only has a short run.
This show runs until the 20th August at the Olive Studio at Greenside, Infirmary Street. Follow this link to book tickets – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on#q=%22Dog%20%2F%20Actor%22
Reviewer: Caroline Worswick
Reviewed: 15th August 2022
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★