Are Strings Attached? is a one-man show dedicated to eradicating the negative perception of graffiti, inspiring young people to follow their dreams and addressing the consequences of pushy parenting. A blend of Banksy, Jiminy Cricket and a love-hate relationship with tennis is the cocktail responsible for serving up the man himself, DOG (Simon Lovat). Using Pinocchio as a tool for exploring themes of identity, fame and what it means to be successful, DOG questions his own authenticity of pursuing a career following in his father’s footsteps. Centered around the messages of this Disney classic, the notion of dreams and goals is threaded throughout the performance. Particularly, the dreams that Jiminy Cricket sold him as a child and that continued to resonate with him until his adult life.
Promises to (spray) paint a smile on your face as you chuckle at the many mishaps and adventures in DOG’s life
The show is dynamic, deep and includes a handful of beautifully sung, short a cappella numbers, reminding us of the dreams we also had as a child. To fill the stage with so much energy is a difficult task but it's done so effortlessly with minimal props, no sound effects and simple lighting. Simon Lovat is absolutely captivating, having full control over the pace, energy and mood. We are exposed to the dark reality of living life unauthentically and challenged as the truth behind graffiti art is revealed. Are Strings Attached? tactically leads us through the process of understanding identity and how this is expressed through graffiti throw ups and tags. Do graffiti artists still have an identity once their work is whitewashed? How do we develop an identity independent from the one our parents force on us?
Throughout the amazingly energetic performance, I felt the plausibility of the autobiography was challenged to some extent. Since Are Strings Attached? is a piece of fictional biography, the believability of the character and the story-line is vital. Small details mentioned continuously throughout the performance which identified certain features and characteristics, such as height and voice pitch, about DOG detracted from the plausibility of the story-line since they did not match the features and characteristics of Simon Lovat. However, as DOG, Simon Lovat was wonderfully witty, brilliantly bold and perfectly pronounced and an unquestionably believable actor which hugely compensated for the differences between the character he was playing and himself.
Are Strings Attached? is definitely worth a watch and promises to (spray) paint a smile on your face as you chuckle at the many mishaps and adventures in DOG’s life – it really is ACE!