Four Dogs and a Bone is an insight into the cruel, callous, ‘whatever-it-takes’ world of the Hollywood movie biz. The producer, Bradley (Barry Mitchell), has to cut scenes to make budget, while the two main actresses, Collette (Catherine Kohlen) and Brenda (Shanrah Wakefield) argue about ‘who the lead is’ and both beg Victor, the writer, who in reality is grieving over his dead mother, to rewrite the ending and let them save the main guy character who’s supposed to die, ultimately making them the star of the film. Make sense? Neither does the industry. It doesn’t say anything we don’t already know about Hollywood, but it’s light, funny at times, honest and mostly entertaining nonetheless.
Dan Walls does a solid job directing the piece, though I did find the opening slow and wondered about each character’s intention in the first scene. There were neither huge emotional highs or lows in the show and I wondered if there might have been a little more dynamic within scenes and moments; longer pauses at times to let the audience breathe or characters not letting the other get a word in. It felt competent, but occasionally flat.
Although all performances were generally strong and fun, Catherine Kohlen, as the experienced, yet insecure Collette, and Brett Whittingham, as the ambitious, yet conflicted Victor, really stood out. Their commitment and timing drew consistent and sincere giggles from the audience. It was suitably cast with all actors well-credited and while the performances bordered on caricature, they were generally credible, consistent and kept the audience engaged.
Overall, it was a competent, entertaining interpretation of a tight, simple script. Act-o-matic 3000 is one of those companies producing a consistently high standard of work. Every show is a surprise and different from the last. Find out where the Cromwell Rd Theatre is and go along, support them and enjoy the comment on a culture we in Australia love to hate.
The Act-O-Matic 3000 presents
Four Dogs and a Bone
by John Patrick Shanley
Directed by Dan Walls
Venue: Cromwell Road Theatre, 27A Cromwell Rd, South Yarra
Dates: November 13 - 24 @ 8pm, Matinee Sun 18th @ 5pm (No show Mon 19th)
Tickets: $25 Full, $20 Concession (pension, MEAA, f/t student) | $15 tix Tues 13th & Cheap Tues 19th Nov
Bookings/Information: 9429 8118
Tickets at the door