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Dog Show at Melbourne Fringe Festival - Review

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by Fiona Anderson (subscribe)
A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
Event: -
You'd be barking mad to miss this one
I guess it's too early into Fringe to make the call, but honestly, I can't imagine seeing a funnier, more creative and more original show than I saw last night in Dog Show.

Dog Show takes anthropomorphism to a whole new level, with the three performers - Adam Ibrahim, Alex Roe and Simone French - taking on the roles not just of the dog owners, but the dogs themselves. The Warehouse at the Fringe Hub: Arts House has been set up to replicate an arena at a dog show, and during the course of this production, we have three pooches going through their paces as they progress through the show, towards the ultimate quest of being 'best in show'.

Dog Show at Melbourne Fringe Festival - Review
Adam Ibrahim as Robert Joseph and 'Margareen Extra Spreadable' the Afghan Hound

Adam Ibrahim as dog owner Robert Joseph takes to the ring, to parade his dog 'Margareen Extra Spreadable the Afghan Hound' in competition. With the change of a drum beat, 'Robert' transforms into 'Margareen', prancing, panting and tongue lolling, the fringes on the flapper-inspired outfit swishing in a very Afghan hound like way.

Dog Show at Melbourne Fringe Festival - Review
Simone French as Kara Bramham and 'Chiquitita (Chi Chi), Tell Me The Truth', the Chihuahua

Simone French as Kara Bramham morphs into her dog Chiquitita (Chichi) the Chihuahua. Her facial expressions, particularly the flicking of the tongue, are priceless, and admirably capture the essence of the breed.

Alex Roe, as Benjamin Hugger, in his neo-punk get up, seems confused as an owner. He looks like he should own a pit bull, but seems surprised to have a mild, timid whippet named, of all things, 'Darby Deeds Done Dirt Cheap'.

Dog Show at Melbourne Fringe Festival - Review
Alex Roe as Benjamin Hugger and 'Darby Deeds Done Dirt Cheap' the Whippet

The pace of the show becomes increasingly frenetic as it prances towards its inevitable climax. The performers become more and more physical in their roles, incorporating elements of dance and gymnastics along the way. It's compelling and simultaneously eye-wateringly funny.

Dog Show at Melbourne Fringe Festival - Review
Judging assessment for best in show

The finale is hilarious. Without giving too much away, I will say that chaos ensues in the dog show arena in a surprising way.

The performances of Ibrahim, French and Roe are outstanding. Their instant transitions between characters are so clever, and the range of skills they demonstrate through the show most impressive.

A few other special mentions: first the backdrop, which is beautifully done, in a classic styling. Plaudits to designer Dann Barber for that one. The choreography is also absolutely first rate. There are some complex sequences in a fairly limited space, but it's all beautifully stage managed.

Finally, I must mention the drummer, Cassandra Kumashov. Cassandra is positioned at the rear of the stage, and it seems has been briefed to remain stony-faced throughout (no mean feat!). But her drumming is a critical part of the show. As well as signalling tempo and character changes, she keeps everything moving sharply along. She, literally, never missed a beat.

I loved this show. If you appreciate original, clever performance and visual comedy by a group of performers who seem totally assured on the stage (even as a dog!), then It's brilliant.

Dog Show plays at Fringe Hub: Arts House - Warehouse, 521 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne, at 9.15pm each night from 18th - 21st September, and at 2.15pm on 22nd September.

Tickets are $22 - $25. Click here to buy your tickets online.

The images in this article were taken by the writer.
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Why? I laughed and laughed - such doggone good fun!
When: 9.15pm from Tues 18th to Fri 21st September, 3.15pm on Saturday 22nd September
Phone: (03) 9660 9666
Where: Fringe Hub: Arts House - Warehouse, 521 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne
Cost: $22 - $25
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