★★★★ – packed with explosive surprises.
Laughter is the best medicine. And even though I still have a huge cold, I felt cleansed after watching Dead Dog in a Suitcase by Kneehigh. My first laugh came when I opened the program to see a disclaimer from Kneehigh saying: “Warning: This show contains bangs, smoke, strong language and dodgy delights… And yes, we will be putting a dead dog in a suitcase.” I was hooked from there.
With an ensemble of thirteen cast members, the show had a solid foundation and the sound coming out from their mouths and fingers was sublime, which created an atmosphere of electricity. The comedy timing was excellent – every few lines or so there was a gag that chocked the audience. Many times I went to drink my glass of wine and found that it would be a danger, for the front row would have received a mouthful.
Dead Dog in a Suitcase is in the style of The Beggar’s Opera which concerns a lowlife plot about lowlife people, which was also inspired by Bertolt Brecht who is of the opinion that “the world is poor and man’s a shit.” The context of the production is very fitting today where many say that we are currently living in an unfair society with an unequal class system.
It was a sensational show, and all the actors shone brilliantly. Three actors stood out because of their energy, flair and dedication to entertain. Dominic Marsh, plays Macheath and he creates the world of darkness that surrounds the plot, and is extremely convincing as the heroic villain or villainous hero with his exaggerated facial expressions and movement, and proved a worthy entertainer, particularly when he got down to his ‘Superman’ boxers. Rina Fatania as Mrs Peachum, who was the funniest actor on stage; her comedic timing was excellent and every action and word that she performed were excitingly hilarious. Patrycja Kujawska was incredibly convincing as the Mayor Goodman’s widow, crying real tears, and playing the violin most magnificently. In fact, the highlight of the night for me was her soloist performance at the end as the show was coming to an end. It made me stand up to ovation.
The stage was incredible, and every inch was cleverly used by the cast. The musicians were otherworldly with playing different instruments to create music and sound effects, and also playing part of Mac’s gang. Multipart playing was a feature that added to the performance and drew the audience in further, for they loved watching all the actors doing everything.
One thing that was overly used was the word ‘sh*t’, which though it immensely contributed to the controversy of the show, Mrs Peachum used it too often which lost its effect after a while.
This is the funniest show I have seen in a long time. Please keep touring, and come back!
The Rep | 0121 236 4455
by Alex Da Silva | @AlexMDaSilva