Thursday, February 29

Dog/Actor – Hope Street Theatre

Steven Berkoff’s eloquent and evocative double bill performance of Dog / Actor is brought to the stage by Threedumb Theatre, and I have to say it is truly a masterclass in both physical and comedic theatre.

Stephen Smith, who is also the artistic director for Threedumb, is the solo performer of this back-to-back double bill and he really excels in this challenging piece.

In Dog, Smith portrays a racist foul-mouthed football hooligan with his companion pit bull Roy. Smith uses every part of the studio space to significant effect and provides the audience with a strong and ever-increasing sense of rage.

It is without question an uncompromising and difficult piece for any actor to perform but Smith finds the right tempo throughout. Excellent lighting also adds texture to Dog.

In Actor, Berkoff turns his attention to the world of the struggling artist and his need to find validation and purpose. Berkoff’s superbly dark comedy is both a profound and a clever piece of writing.

Smith carefully balances the actor’s greed for success, the rejections and constant struggle to achieve in a profession that can sometimes be quite unforgiving. The ending is stark and emotional

The double bill, which is also directed by Smith himself, is designed for the one actor with zero set and zero props so intentionally the whole focus, quite rightly, is on the performer and Berkoff’s words.

Running at just 50 minutes this is a sharp and nuanced production from the excellent Threedumb Theatre and Smith gives an outstanding full-on “in yer face” performance.

This is excellent and absorbing theatre – not to be missed!

Dog/Actor goes on a short UK festival tour after its initial run at Hope Street Theatre:

Bath 4th June / Wimbledon 11th June/ Cambridge 7th – 9th July / Camden 2nd – 6th August / Edinburgh Fringe 15th – 20th August.

Reviewer: Kiefer Williams

Reviewed: 5th May 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★