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Art in the (dog) park

Perri Roach got to pat so many dogs.

Perri Roach got to pat so many dogs.

One of the best things about live performance is the sense you’re watching something that will never happen again in the same way. This was best exemplified in Jetpack Theatre Collective’s latest work, How. Dare. when an exuberant golden retriever entered from stage right and began to eat a prop sandwich meant for the performance. Whilst some reviewers may consider a near constant stream of dogs galloping through the performance space to be a pitfall, this one does not.

Nestled amongst the pine trees at Leichhardt’s Pioneer Memorial Park, Kirsty McGuire and Tali M-k’s production How. Dare. explores the many forms of indignation through a collection of monologues and short scenes. Kirsty McGuire takes the different styles of the four writers in her stride. The production whirls between wildly different worlds, from a dystopian future where personalities have become a commodity to the familiar frustration of writing to the council. The cast manages to create a nuanced landscape of emotion that oscillates with ease between hilarity and empathy.

The writing in How. Dare. was consistently entertaining across the board, as were the cast. Adrien Stark’s wry delivery of a darkly funny piece about a young call centre worker by Charlie O’Grady was nuanced and engaging. Praise must also be given to the effervescent Brigitta Brown, whose vivacious energy filled the park throughout the whole show.

Amid the long, well-rehearsed monologues, what made this show fun to watch were the unplanned moments. At one point an enthusiastic staffie tackled a performer to the ground, who took the fall with grace and continued to wrestle with the pup in the most “in character” way possible. The parade of random dogs frolicking across the performance space decimated any semblance of a fourth wall, but the production’s self reflexive nature meant that this didn’t matter. There were some wonderful moments of mime and physical comedy reminiscent of Italian Commedia Dell’Arte at the beginning of the show which could have been better weaved through the rest of the performance. More of these flexible, physical semi-improvised moments to may have helped to break up the verbose nature of the script.

All in all, How. Dare. is a boisterous and skillfully constructed show- although it is hard to relate to the indignation onstage when you’re surrounded by dogs.

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