Little Dogs – Young Critics Review

image by farrows creative

Little Dogs ****
Patti Pavilion, Swansea
Directed by: Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett
Devised by: Scott Graham, Steven Hoggett and The Company

A sketch of the animalistic nature of Swansea night life…

A work of symbolism, Little Dogs plants little seeds of stories and ideas, related to the characters, but also related to the audience – the ideas you have about those kids who sprawl over the streets of Swansea (or any town) on a Saturday night, or stories that linger in your memory of the nights you spent in a similar fashion years before.

The Promenade style pulls you into and through the performance, your focus drawn to each small story by the characters, the lighting or the sounds projected from the ‘new’ – often evocative – set (designed by Tim Dickel).

The choreography was wonderful, blending seamlessly with the action and dialogue and each dance formed a different element of the evening out – from the main focus of the ‘mating ritual’ to the game playing with the law.

The story seeds planted don’t come to fruition, though there is a sense you are following Darren Evans’ character as he surveys and tries to be part of the group and their antics. The young cast are watched over by what seems to be the ‘nurturing’ figure of a grandmother (played by the graceful Siân Phillips); however, her two ethereal appearances added confusion to this meaning and, though a fan of ambiguity, there was perhaps a little too much ambiguity in this seemingly symbolic part of the performance pour moi.

My legs certainly could have stood another 20 minutes to gain a little extra in storyline, but this perhaps was the whole point: the night is never truly over; the ritual continues and the rubbish that issues from the mouths of young lovers enshrined in fake tan glamour and aftershave manufactured testosterone will be passed down through generations of Swansea’s Wind Street dwellers.

Whatever your age, however you remember your youth, you are bound to get something out of this truly exciting piece of theatre (though be sure to read the warning re. bad language, strobe lighting and nudity). The whole experience is enjoyable, with other notable performances from Katie Elizabeth-Payne, Jordan Bernarde and Remy Beasley, the ensemble cast will take you through a myriad of emotions, drawing you into and absorbing you in the world of Little Dogs.

You can still see Little Dogs with performances running until May 19th, 2012. Tickets are £15 (£10/£5 Concessions) and can be booked through Taliesin Arts Centre (01792 602060). There is a 15+ age guidance, so maybe don’t bring the kids!

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