Music For Dogs - Edfringe Review

The sea and shore are projected onto a large screen behind Jane MacDonald (played by Carol Caffrey) and with seaside props the scene is set – Dublin’s Burrow beach. A middle aged woman out for a walk with her aptly named dog Whiskey. Hip flask in one hand, dictaphone in the other, she records a message for her estranged siblings.

Jane communes to her absent brother and sister about her unconventional lifestyle and how she is trying to cope without her young, larger than life, son Julian. In a masterplan worthy of Only Fools and Horses this Del Girl sets up a racket involving CD’s and canines – you’ve guessed it – 'music' for dogs. Unlike Del Boy she is hugely successful with international distribution and a new record for every dog owners need. But the play asks, what does money and success mean without your family and your health?

‘Music For Dogs’ was originally written for radio by Ireland Professor of Poetry Paula Meehan, set during (and parodying) the rapid economic growth of the 'Celtic Tiger' years. It is a great, well written piece for a one woman show, with a revealing poetic narrative. At times very funny and at others sad, I had tears in my eyes when this mother talked about her bereavement. Carol Caffrey is a consummate actor, she kept the audience’s interest, gave us a seat on her see-saw of emotions and ad-libbed effortlessly over an unexpected disturbance.

It is a very detail conscious production with dog music CD covers, such as ‘Old Yeller sings Country’, designed by Brendan Riera and Annie (Culu) especially for the show. These, as well as the flyer and the poster are very amusing. Dick Keely photographed a beautiful sunset which forms the backdrop to the set. Patricia Kessler directs. And it was refreshing to see an Irish actor play an Irish character – because she can get the accent right.

I really enjoyed ‘Music For Dogs’ and the only drawback came from the Edinburgh fringe venue, The Three Sisters with some noise bleeding through from nearby shows during the performance.

I highly recommend ‘Music For Dogs’, which has upcoming dates in October and March.

(c) Wendy Thomson 2015

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