|reporting the edge||credits|
home | about | news | contents | gossip | photographs | venues | brighton | dublin | edinburgh | film | features | interviews | awards | fashion | recipes | no more drinks | newsletter | links | contact
Fringe Report is now closed. Fringe Report closed on its 10th anniversary, Thursday 12 July 2012. It remains online as a record of 10 exciting years in the arts. Till July 2013, previously unwritten content is being added to the site from the past 10 years, but we are no longer reviewing new material. You can still write to us on the existing email addresses. Good luck with your shows.
Dog In The Manger
Verdict: Fast-paced, stylish, bright, spirited
From the moment Countess Diana appears backlit and towering on the upmost level of a white, three tiered stage, shouting 'He flew like a hawk while you clucked like a chicken', Rogues' Gallery Theatre Company's production of Dog In The Manger by Lope De Vega (1562-1635), directed by Oliver Rose, whirls along with incredible wit and sparkle.
Barely giving a moment to breathe, the plot - which follows ice queen Diana as she struggles with her love for her secretary and servant Teodoro, socially beneath her and engaged to her lady in waiting - has been moved from Seventeenth Century occupied Naples to the 1950s Riviera. Sharp suits and bold colours, notably Diana's platinum hair, stand out vividly against Kate Guinness's set, whose many steps and levels push the actors into a vibrant physicality as they run along the audience balcony, leap from spot to spot or simply string out clothes-lines or dance behind effervescent curtains.
Close attention has been paid to the script, translated by Professor David Johnston to include modern words including pillock and a hundred brilliantly evocative comments - as when, after a beating from the countess, Teodoro's servant tells him 'It's like your nose is a virgin and she's had her wicked way with it'. The actors soar effortlessly across reams of description, metaphor and bulky exposition - and even remarks such as 'I am not angry', spoken through gritted teeth, raise a laugh.
Helen Beaumont as Diana maintains an impressive poise throughout. Ticks such as the clenching of her hands are often the only sign of the character's distress, rendering her sudden rages and rare confidences all the more touching. Alex Marx as the handsome Teodoro displays an exuberance that shifts easily to pain and frustration as he tears about the stage from intrigue to intrigue. Tom Shepherd as suitor Marquis Ricardo, and Cameron Harris his servant Celio, pull off a very funny duo with the use of a little straight-faced swagger and an accompanying guitar.
Sarah Sweeny as jilted Marcela is convincing as a pretty, silly creature, yet successfully avoids parody or stereotype. Brendan Murphy as hapless lover Count Frederico, and Tom Ferguson as Fabio, the eternal second fiddle to Teodoro, give memorable performances. Hamish McDougall, as Teodoro's scheming servant Tristan, steals the second half with a madcap slickness that bounds through Tristan's myriad disguises, from ominous Scotsman to dodgy Greek sailor.
Live music from the cast, and notably Emma Hiddleston's lyrical voice, mingles with recorded seascapes and songs from the era to create a sweet, almost sepia-tinted echo to the play - balancing the fast-paced energy of the dialogue. Dog In The Manger is a stylish, bright and spirited work, with never a dull moment and plenty of laughs mixed in. A great debut for a new theatre company.
Cast Credits: (alpha order): Helen Beaumont - Diana, Countess of Belflor. Sophia Broido - Camilla, Ludovico's Companion. Tom Ferguson - Fabio, Diana’s Servant. Cameron Harris - Celio, Ricardo's Servant. Emma Hiddleston - Dorotea, Diana's a Lady-in-Waiting. Joan Iyiola - Anarda, Diana's a Lady-in-Waiting. Hamish McDougall - Tristan, Teodoro's Servant. Alex Marx - Teodoro, Diana's Secretary. Brendan Murphy - Count Frederico's Servant. Christopher Peacock - Octavio, Diana's Servant / Count Ludovico. Tom Shepherd - The Marquis Ricardo. Sarah Sweeney - Marcela, Diana’s a Lady-in-Waiting. James Yeatman - Leonido, Frederico's Servant/Furio, Lackey.
Company Credits: Writer - Lope De Vega (1562-1635). Translator - Professor David Johnston. Director - Oliver Rose. Designer - Kate Guinness. Sound Designer - Nico Bentley. Lighting Designer - Christopher Nairne. Technical Operator - uncredited. Stage Manager - Laura Page. Costume Supervisor - Mia Gray. Assistant Costume Designer - Mia Gray. Props - Chiara Stephenson. Stage Manager - Laura Page. Make Up and Hair - Sarah Russell. Set Builder - Niall Mulcahy. Publicity Designer - Clarlie Billingham. Website Designer - Jenner Del Vecchio. Producer - Alexandra Smith. Company - Rogues' Gallery Theatre Company. Website - www.roguesgallerytheatre.co.uk.
(c) Philippa Tatham 2009
reviewed Tuesday 5 May 2009 / Hoxton Hall, London UK
Fringe Report (c) Fringe Report 2002-2013