Dog Play Dead


Dog Play Dead by The Well Behaved Women.

I was invited to attend The Edinburgh preview of Dog Play Dead at Theatre 503 on the 27th July. The company aims to give women a strong presence in the arts and Dog Play Dead is written by a woman and stars 5 women. It is a play about 4 girls who get into trouble together and eventually overcome it. For those put off by the word ‘feminism’ or the potential concept of this company – don’t be as there is no complaining about men and no bra burning just a good old black comedy where women hold their own.

In this story we see 4 girls getting drunk at one of their mafia bosses houses when they are supposed to be dog sitting for a much beloved dog. Of course being a black comedy the dog goes missing and there is a pool of blood on the floor…..and then the mafia bosses deranged daughter returns home….and she is not happy. I won’t give the ending away but suffice to say I enjoyed the plot twist at the end.

The premise of the show is interesting and laughs are had at the random conversations, like the debate over custard creams v bourbons (bourbons obviously!!). Some of the dialogue could have been wittier, or darker as a lot of the time was spent watching the girls bicker between themselves and not really further the plot or provide the audience with laughs. There was also a lot of unnecessary swearing, which I appreciate makes me sound like a complete prude! I genuinely don’t mind swearing when the production calls for it or it helps the character development but in this case it served no purpose and to be honest made it look like they couldn’t find more intelligent things to say.

I also felt that I did not develop enough empathy for the characters, apart from Katie, played by Gemma Wilson, who was the character ultimately responsible for the dog sitting. PB, played by Anna Thomas-Jones (who also wrote the piece) was also a nice contrast to the rest of the characters. Her eerie calmness, nicely juxtaposed with all the madness and screaming going on around her.  I think more development of the backstory between the characters, how they knew each other etc would have helped me have more empathy for the other characters as I left feeling I knew very little about them. Each of the characters however were very distinct and a clear sense of identity was present from all.

This is a show that shows a lot of promise and with some tweaks could be a nice little black comedy to catch. I’m giving it a 2 star in the current review but would be intrigued to see it with a bit more development and with a few tweaks to the script.

I’d love to hear from you if you saw it with your thoughts- especially if you are reading this post Edinburgh and saw it!

Dog Play Dead is on at the Edinburgh Festival at theSpace on the Mile (Space 1) at 12:50 on August 24th – 29th and runs for 60 minutes.

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