Dogstar

2
Greg Freeman's play at the Tabard
By Orlando - 26th Nov 2013

Dogstar review"In a hot, dusty, western saloon, a mysterious stranger named only as Dogstar 
discovers everything in town has to be paid for …even dying. And like almost every mysterious stranger, who happens to be “just passing through”, he is inextricably drawn into a battle with Clay, the unscrupulous landowner, in a bid to save the town. He is a homespun gunslinger in a greedy town and like a game of poker without cards; passions and stakes just get higher and higher. Can someone really own the whole planet or is Dogstar just a very wily drifter?"

A production that began with moody, atmospheric and tantalising fog, sounds and a sense of eerie foreboding, swiftly turned into a farcical, flawed and inexplicable tale clumsily questioning man’s ownership of material, self and soul.

Centered and considered performances from Ben Warwick as the simmering dues ex machina and the nervous, slightly Mother’s Do Have ‘Em-like James Sygrove could have saved some of the production if it were not for the totally miscast Laura Pradelska; who was supposed to be the virgin, the holy grail, for this town’s men folk! Oh dear. And, finally, Rhys King as Clay ,the owner of the town. Ill conceived and delivered with a rabbit-in-headlight franticness that baffled the audience into believing he had not just stopped by from the local Am-Dram panto rehearsals!

Difficult to locate in time place, but it seemed to be a pseudo-wild west America – though every character had a different accent from around the world – this pastiche, at best, centered on small town attitudes around the turn of the 20th century. I pitch for that time, as a referenced original of Van Gogh’s Sunflower series appears, factually painted around1887 in Paris, in a rather ludicrous plotting moment. From here it goes further downhill as we learn, in this town, led by the third-generation of would-be omnipotent virgin hunters, we find out that it is the law for all men to have their nipples removed at birth; a mid western circumcision, if you like. Or just one step too far in the ridiculous.

Orlando Weston


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