Tuesday, 25 April 2017
Sydney » Reviews »
The Dog/The Cat | Belvoir
Written by Rebecca Whitton   
Tuesday, 23 June 2015 09:01
The Dog / The Cat | BelvoirLeft – Xavier Samuel and Andrea Demetriades. Cover – Benedict Hardie and Andrea Demetriades. Photos – Brett Boardman.

Two of Australia’s much loved playwrights, Brendan Cowell and Lally Katz have combined to blow a breath of fresh air into Belvoir St’s Downstairs Theatre with their two short romantic comedies, TheDog/The Cat.

The writing in both plays is polished, beguiling and very very funny. Ralph Myers directs them both with panache and they are performed with an assured charm by the trio of actors: Andrea Demetriades, Benedict Hardie and Xavier Samuel.

Both plays are about divorcing couples and the difficulties associated with having to deal with their pets after a breakup.

In the first play, The Dog, newly separated Ben (Samuel) and his dog Jerry move in with his old friend Marcus (Hardie). These “Odd Couple” housemates: drunken, shambolic and emotionally frayed script writer, Ben and uptight nerdy app developer, Marcus have taken on the joint custody of Jerry, taking turns to walk him in their local park. Like Buzo’s bus stop and Albee’s park bench, dog parks provide the perfect opportunity to befriend strangers. Here they meet Miracle, the clever and practical International Studies lecturer at the University of Sydney and vie for her attention.

In addition to Cowell’s full arsenal of dog jokes, no inner city hipster sacred cow is left unscathed. Craft beer, Birkenstocks, Capoeira, Screen Australia, app designers, Tinder – they all cop a gentle but hilarious mocking. The audience were not just laughing, they were snorting.

Cowell’s play is not without depth. Along with the blokey good humour, it is quite serious in its sensitive portrayal not only of the pain of loss, but also the ability of new friendships to both heal and inspire.

Lally Katz’s The Cat has the same director and actors. It is just as comic and touching as The Dog, but it is far more deliciously fanciful. In a clever touch, demonstrating they are companion pieces, Katz occasionally echoes phrases from Cowell’s play in hers. Like The Dog, the pain of separation is movingly expressed, but in this short play Katz deals not only with the difficulties of the divorcing couple, Alex and Albert, but also how a divorce can affect dependents. Alex and Albert decide to share custody of their cat on a week on, week off basis, with unexpected results. This play mixes the absurd with a little touch of Vegas. There’s singing, there’s dancing and a razzle dazzle ending that you will not expect.

The acting is uniformly excellent. Both Hardie and Samuel were wonderful playing unlikeable but such vulnerable comic characters in The Dog. Hardie is a terrifically entertaining comic actor and a wonderful foil to Demetriades’ and Samuel’s more realist delivery style. Hardie’s descriptions of his new app, uDoin, are particularly hilarious.

Costumes, set, sound and lighting design remain pared back, for the most part. Myers has designed a bare, black painted stage to allow the focus to remain entirely on the talents of his three superb actors and their delivery of Cowell’s and Katz’s fresh and funny new scripts.

Belvoir presents
The Dog / The Cat

The Dog by Brendan Cowell
The Cat by Lally Katz

Director Ralph Myers

Venue: Belvoir St Theatre | 25 Belvoir St, Surry Hills
Dates: 18 June – 26 July 2015
Times: Tuesday 7pm | Wednesday to Friday 8.15pm | Saturday 2.15pm & 8.15pm | Sunday 5.15pm
Tickets: $48 – $38
Bookings: 02 9699 3444 | belvoir.com.au

Pin It

Comments (0)

Subscribe to this comment's feed

Write comment

You must be logged in to post a comment. Please register if you do not have an account yet.

PozibleAustralian Stage JobsMembers Area

Most Read SYDNEY Reviews

The Popular Mechanicals | Sydney Theatre Company
Taking Bottom the weaver and his fellow gormless tradies with dreams of amateur theatrical stardom, playwrights Keith Robin...
Talk | Sydney Theatre Company
There are several clear issues with Sydney Theatre Company's latest production.
Faster | The Australian Ballet
Faster is modern ballet in its truest form. The production is segmented into three works, completely unlike each other. The...
Horrible Harriet | CDP Theatre Producers
Sydney Opera House and CDP Theatre Producers present the opportunity to see Horrible Harriet in all her glory live on stage...
Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo | Mad March Hare and Red Line Productions
The marvellous Maggie Dence behind a fence in fine feline form plays the titular tiger in Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo....