Alan, We Think You Should Get a Dog

A problem that a lot of shows face is an inability to commit to tone, or to perform in agreement with the tone that the show sets forth. Case in point – Alan, We Think You Should Get a Dog. From the beginning until the end, the show couldn’t make up its mind as to whether it wanted to be a dark comedy, a real drama, or something completely different. I’m not sure where that missed tone came from, but wherever it was, it made this show difficult to understand and hard to enjoy.

This show has problems in spades. It’s not all bad, but it definitively isn’t good in its current iteration.

Alan is an old man with two children, a girl and a boy. He has an unspecified debilitating illness, which affects him to the extent that he can no longer care for himself. His children are unsure of how to react to this. Daisy, the daughter, feels the need to move in and care for her father, while the son, Oli, decides to hide himself away, unwilling to understand the changed circumstances. As a concept, this is fine, but it’s in the execution that the problems arise. Not to say that the performances were bad, they were fine, with some doing quite well, but the great flaw of the show is that few of the character’s actions seem reasonable from here on out. The children destroy their father’s things, wistfully ignore potential lovers for him, and make their own lives more difficult for his sake all while acting like they don’t care about him at all. And at the same time, this is visually portrayed as if they don’t really understand the gravity of the situation at all, like it’s a light comedy of sorts. And this weird clash of script and action I think falls to direction, because this script is not irredeemable. It just needs to be made clearer.

That’s not to say this show is all bad, many moments are quite charming. Daisy’s husband, Christian, talking about his love of gardening is adorable and funny. Oli flirting with a girl at the club is awkward and real and makes him feel like a real character. And these moments are ones the show should hold onto, but doesn’t. To add to this, the props in this show are extraordinarily unclear. I wasn’t sure that a cardboard box was meant to be a rosebush until almost the last scene, and by that point I had missed so much of the point. This goes for the use of many cardboard boxes in this show, the most prolific prop by far. This show has problems in spades. It’s not all bad, but it definitively isn’t good in its current iteration. 

Reviews by Miles Hurley

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Performances

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The Blurb

A tough yet tender devised show from RCSSD emerging graduate company Mad Like Roar, exploring a family breakdown in communication and responsibility. 'They came to my funeral, but I wasn't quite dead... yet'. Daisy has grappled with holding things together her whole life. Her brother Ollie only sees stars in shots, while she finds herself alone caring for her father. Now, with parenthood thrust upon her, she is fighting for communication and family. But when that leaves her with blood on her hands, it's frightening.

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