The Little Dog Laughed and the audience certainly saw such sport as the superb cast ran away with this deliciously biting piece of comedy theatre.
The New Theatre has for over 20 years produced a play in for the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival, and The Little Dog Laughed is a fierce and fantastic theatrical addition to events in support of this year’s event.
Following the Hollywood Star, Mitchell Green on his calculated climb to the top of the celebrity A-list, this play takes a swipe at the charade that is the entertainment industry, sexuality, relationships with benefits, and the facade of those all-too-perfect Hollywood endings.
Written by Douglas Carter Beane, The Little Dog Laughed is an energetic and bubbly comedy-of-manners piece, full to the brim of some of the sharpest dialogue, monologues and fantastic one liners, which are delivered expertly by the performers at a whip cracking pace.
Director, Alice Livingstone has created a strong and sassy production of this play, where all the various elements have come together seamlessly, to begin the New Theatre’s 2017 Season with a real bang.
Tom Bannerman’s set design was appropriately minimalistic and sleek, with the monochromatic tone effectively complementing the context of the play and made the vibrant characters flourish brighter. Lighting Design by Louise Mason and Sound Design by Michael Huxley are both sophisticated and perfectly executed to effectively enhance the staging and to marry with some key moments in the plot.
The ensemble cast, consisting of Sarah Aubrey, Brett Rogers, Charles Upton and Madeline Beukers, worked beautifully together in their intertwining stories, complimenting each other to create an infectious energy, not too dissimilar to the best episodes of Will&Grace. Accents were for the most part flawless, and the minor inconsistencies could be excused as opening night jitters, that dispersed quickly as the play moved along.
The clear standout performance came from Sarah Aubrey, as the acerbic and ruthless Diane, who masterfully set the tone from the start and like a true puppet master, controlled the characters and action of the play. The audience hung on her every line that she delivered with a devilish flair, with her monologues of particular, tickling everyone’s fancy.
Compliments also to Brett Rogers who, after a slightly shaky start, came to hit his stride as he delivered a warm and endearing performance of a painfully self-obsessed character, that allowed audiences to connect with someone so far removed from our everyday lives.
In addition, special mention must be made to Aubrey and Rogers for their delicious chemistry and impeccable performance in what could be considered, the stand out scene of the play. Watching the pair bounce of each other to maneuver and negotiate their way to obtain their objective was true delight, as both actors skillfully handled the roller coaster of a lunch meeting with perfect physical and vocal nuances.
The Little Dog Laughed, although seemingly simple in plot and substance, makes at times cutting observations and commentary about the lifestyles of the rich and famous. Although it leans a little on the stereotypical side at times the few weaknesses can be overlooked as everything is wrapped up in such delectable dialogue and performances that will be sure to leave audiences feeling nothing but happy.
Catherine Davies – Theatre Now & On The Town
Photo © Bob Seary
7 Feb – 4 Mar 21017
Previews Tue 7 & Wed 8 Feb, 7:30pm
Thu – Sat 7:30pm, Sun 5pm
Final performance: parade day, Sat 4 March 2pm
Venue: New Theatre
Theatre Company: New Theatre
“I’m lesbian, he’s a fag, we’re in show business, we’re a perfect couple”
Mitchell is an actor, a rising star and firmly in the closet. Diane is his wildly ambitious, take-no-prisoners agent and awards-night beard. Alex and his girlfriend Ellen are two young hustlers on the make.
Late one night, on a business trip to New York, Mitch calls for a rent boy and Alex turns up. Two worlds and four lives collide. Within days, Mitch is declaring he’s in love and planning to ‘come out’ while Diane is desperately trying to prevent him committing what she sees as career suicide.
This bitingly funny tale of sexual ambiguity, immoral values and the pursuit of happiness lifts the lid on Hollywood double standards and the lengths people will go to achieve fame and fortune. Yet underneath the comedy is a moving portrayal of people yearning to connect.
“Deliciously good fun” The New York Post
Concessions, Groups (10+) $27
Mardi Gras Member $25
New Theatre Member $22
Previews, Student Rush, Thrifty Thursdays $17