*This review contains strong language. Mother has already threatened me with the soap and water!
I love supporting strong, inspirational and creative women. To sound incredibly educated here, Beyoncé once said “We need to reshape our own perception of how we view ourselves. We need to step up as women and take the lead“….if only there was a theatre company who thought like Queen B….*cue dreamy music*
“We want to push the boundaries of how women are perceived on stage and screen, to provide a platform to give women a strong presence in the arts…”
What a coincidence! I stumbled across The Well Behaved Women on Twitter and adored the opportunity to watch their all female cast for the very first time. Their first play, Dog Play Dead, had already been tried and tested in the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe Festival circuit (check out my fellow theatre blogger Musical Musings review) and won the Hiive competition for Emerging Theatre Company. The very talented Anna Thomas-Jones also wrote and starred in Dog Play Dead so I had to play fetch!
Dog Play Dead was like arriving late to your friend’s sleepover and witnessing the sorry sight of your four drunk friends (Katie, Mica, Sam and Rachel) crack open the bottles of champers and Prosecco without you. The Well Behaved Women…well weren’t very well behaved!
“Throwing a great party in an amazing house, what could possibly go wrong? Except you’re supposed to be house-sitting. For a mafia boss. And now his beloved dog is missing. And there’s a pool of blood on the floor. And to make the hangover even worse, your boss’ daughter then arrives… Surely not a situation that well-behaved women would find themselves in? A gripping black comedy full of unexpected twists and unexpected laughs, presented to you by a new and daring all-female company”
The Well Behaved Women, 2016
Walking into the booms of Icona Pop’s I love it…I got this feeling on the winter day when men were gone. I crashed my butt into the seat. I watched, I let Dog Play Dead run. The cast threw your “fucks” around the stage and dogged it down the stairs. I crashed my butt into the seat. I don’t care…I love it.
Spotting blood in the kitchen and the disappearance of the Dalmatian, Dog Play Dead intends to play the game of Scrabble, not Cluedo. Jumping to the hasty conclusion that the dog is dead, the bitching commences. Katie (Gemma Wilson) scrambles from her dog sitting duty and buries her head in a bowlful of guilt…and Cheerios. The dognapping conversation between Mica (Sophie MacKenzie) and Sam (Colette Eaton) comes back to bite them on the bum tit. The mafia boss’ daughter, PB, constantly teases the foursome with the possibility of making spotty gloves – Cruella de Vil would certainly approve! Rachel (Ailis Duff) takes the final doggy biscuit as she concludes the murder investigation with a peace offering.
Throughout the show, my swear jar was filling up with fucking imaginary fuck money. Now you could say “You’re from the 70s, Emma” and “I am 90s bitch” – points to Mica’s double bun hairstyle – but the fucking amount of times the F word was used was a little unnecessary. The swearing helped to create the intended state of panic and added a splash of comical value, but the fuck, shit and wallop started to bark up the wrong tree. The muzzle was certainly on standby.
Cranking up the Psycho thriller, PB creates this hot and cold stage presence, showering the actresses into absolute panic. Her emotionless face rarely cracks and commands fear into the room. Sniffing for vulnerability, PB is the play’s bloodhound and digs for the friends’ trembling bones. Her monotoned interaction with Katie triumphs the play’s comedy aspirations as PB constantly corrects Katie’s word choices and sentence structures. The friends are forced to lick their wounds and become the underdogs in order to survive this unexpected hostage scenario.
Dog Play Dead was a light comical treat and earned a few howls of laughter from the audience. The Well Behaved Women are certainly doggy paddling in the right direction and throwing five bones for all female casts. The play could be seen as a woman’s best friend, but it’s the company who get my blogging tail wagging.
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