Photos – Bob Seary
There's plenty of bark and lots of bite in New Theatre's production of The Little Dog Laughed by Douglas Carter Beane.
This fine play, it stars four, with whip-crack paddy whack laughs galore, give a dog a funny bone, the show comes rollicking home thanks to the finely crafted confluence of script, direction, performance and design.
Sarah Aubrey is Doberman attentive and attacking in her portrayal of Diane, a ferocious Hollywood agent repping “a rising young male movie star who suffers from a slight recurring case of homosexuality.”
Her client, Mitchell, played in doleful, can't change his spots Dalmation mode by Brett Rogers, has fallen into a reciprocal puppy love with Alex, a bi sexual rent boy, played with Fido fidelity by Charles Upton.
Alex has a grifter girlfriend defrauding her sugar daddy, Ellen, played with the fluffy affection of a lap dog by Madeline Beukers.
Diane sees Mitchell as her meal ticket from agent to manager and thus major player in the robust cut and thrust of motion picture deal making. She fears his latest latency lapse is a deal breaker in marketing Mitch as a major movie star appealing to latent or blatant homophobic Middle America.
Her client's coming out is a catastrophe that could capsize her naked ambition. In matters of career, both hers and his, she is top dog, and intends to remain so.
Douglas Carter Beane has obviously honed his acute ear for Hollywood hypocrisy by working in that hothouse den of iniquity. With observations hewn from the hell hole, he happily hoes the fertile ground of artificiality and insincerity, skews it and screws with humongous hilarity.
“What, are you British?” is Diane's scathing response to Mitchell’s contemplating coming out.
Deception and denial is rarely as deliriously and delightfully delivered as in this divinely loquacious harpoon to the humped back of hypocrisy. Beane is on a roll with brilliant barbs against the prevailing perception in Tinseltown that word-smiths are bottom wrungers. Here, the revenge of the writer the audience's reward.
Tom Bannerman's set, dominated by immense and glamorous ceiling beams, is aesthetically thrilling, and Louise Mason's lighting design is similarly subtle and stunning.
Excellent work too from costumer, Famke Visser and sound designer, Michael Huxley.
All under the splendid direction of Alice Livingstone, who matches Beane's streamlined eloquence with stage-crafting elegance. Hey, diddle diddle, this show's in fine fettle, it will have you over the moon.
The audience laughed to see such fun – a clever, entertaining, energetic and engaging lampoon.
New Theatre presents
THE LITTLE DOG LAUGHED
by Douglas Carter Beane
Director Alice Livingstone
Venue: New Theatre | 542 King St Newtown NSW
Dates: 7 February - 4 March 2017
Tickets: $32 –$17