Left – Jamie Oxenbould and Danny Adcock. Cover – Richard Sydenham and Jamie Oxenbould. Photos – Robert Catto
Up to the start, now, for the running of The Dapto Chaser. Lights down.
And racing... old Errol Sinclair jumps to the lead, taking centre stage, a wheezing emphysemac, a dog botherer and student of the form, doing battle with a battered buggered batteried transistor radio whilst trying to hear the call through the crackle from trackside.
In comes Jimmy, Errol’s missing-toed son, back from exercising A Boy Named Sue, the family dishlicker being trained by his brother Cess.
There’s a sparring here, each vying for top dog, the old dog blasting away with brutal home truths, the nipper countering with admonishments about the father’s grog, fag and gambling addiction.
Errol has smoked, boozed and bet his life away, but blames the regulation of the greyhound industry for his woes, and one man in particular, Arnold, who dobbed him in to the stewards, and robbed him of his future in fido events.
Right on cue, Arnold enters the fray, no dapper dude in Dapto, pencil thin moustache, Botox browed, bouffant do, and a nip and tuck he went to the Gong for, a squiring a good sort. Fifty shades of greyhound.
Bringing up the rear in a belter is Cess, trackie dacked and mean beannied, chip off the old block. He’s here for the finish but has to go hammer and tongs against his sibling to go the distance, breaking a taboo and trudging through the mire of family history.
Playwright Mary Rachel Brown has scripted a whippet smart play, a family saga set in the sub culture of dog racing. Fleet of foot, full of laughs and plenty of pathos, the play beats with the heart of a champion that unfurls to fur flying finale where the money’s on the bunny and a rudimentary redemption makes a claim.
Reminiscent of another delicious dishlicker delight, Daniel Keene’s Silent Partner, The Dapto Chaser is rich in character, dialogue, adrenaline allure of aspiration and the primeval love of the pup.
Produced by Dino Dimitriadis and directed by Glynn Nicholas, this production of The Dapto Chaser features an awesome foursome of seasoned performers.
As the patriarch and four paws punter addict, Errol, Danny Adcock defines the irascible raspy voiced puffer with a penchant for Johnny Cash, VB and cigarettes. His titanic tussle with the transistor to attune the right radio reception at the start of the play is a gem of cantankerous comedy.
Jamie Oxenbould is heartbreaking as the downtrodden Jimmy, deformed, disheveled yet determined to detour his dad from debt and untimely death.
Noel Hodda exudes an unctuous charm as the charlatan, Arnold, a dressing of oil and vinegar to a salad mix tossed with revenge and hubris.
Richard Sydenham plays Cess with imposing physicality and laconic line delivery. Fiercely loyal to father and brother, his frustration with both, and the threat of losing his prized pooch and the subsequent wish fulfilment winnings, is palpable. His plaintive plea to get out of “poorness” and his plan to do so through paw-ness carries the portent of tragic disappointment.
Georgia Hopkins’ set and costume design is rich in the prescribed poverty of the piece, Toby Knyvett’ lighting similarly evocative and trim to assist seamless scene transition, and Daryl Wallis subtle sound design with its hint of hound adds a subtle atmos texture.
Like a canine on cocaine, The Dapto Chaser is a get up and go show. Run to see it.
Apocalypse Theatre Company and Griffin Independent present
The Dapto Chaser
by Mary Rachel Brown
Director Glynn Nicholas
Venue: SBW Stables Theatre | 10 Nimrod Street, Kings Cross NSW
Dates: 4 – 25 July, 2015
Tickets: $38 – $30
Bookings: 02 9361 3817 | www.griffintheatre.com.au