Ingo's War

This cosy story follows the adventures of Ingo, a dog on a mission to make his owners proud. Lost and alone, Ingo is found as a pup by Bryony (played by Sophie Hatton), who cares for him until their chaotic separation in the war. Ingo’s bravery and strength is tested as he faces difficult challenges and encounters a variety of both kind and hostile humans. The journey is marked with the clever use of rubber bands on a wooden map, providing a clear sense of place.

The story may be cosy and the characters may be adorable, but it lacks an edge that makes it memorable

Ingo is brought to life with heaps of adorable personality, with each cast member articulating the pup (and seagulls) with energy and naturalism. The bulk of the story is told with clear, energetic voices, aside from when the actors speak Ingo’s inner thoughts. There seems to be no apparent change in tone or quality, hindering the audience’s imagination and investment in the story. The cast are often lit sparsely with handheld torches during intense scenes, which creates excellent suspense and tension at relevant moments.

With only two wooden crates, Ditto Theatre Company play with clever imagery and create fascinating shapes, particularly when moving through the space in well-rehearsed unison. Rhea Locker-Marsh and Gemma Owen-Jones are particularly sincere and warm in their characters of Nurse and Fleur. The ensemble dress in identical attire to provide a neutral base for multi-rolling, yet there are signs of chipped red nail polish and personal jewellery that result in a momentary disconnection from the story.

With silhouetted sheets and slow motion explosions, the piece often lacks originality – something key when telling a story as simple as this. The story may be cosy and the characters may be adorable, but it lacks an edge that makes it memorable. What the ensemble may do well to ask is: “Why this story? And why now?”

Reviews by Faye Butler

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The Blurb

Ingo was a very nervous dog. He was always afraid of the dark, loud noises, and did not like meeting new people. Owned and cherished by a young girl living in the city of London, life for Ingo is as easy as pie. Yet as war looms once more and the Blitz becomes a very immediate danger, the girl and her dog are evacuated to the country. But when Ingo is left on the train, he is suddenly plunged into an adventure that tips his steady world upside down. He experiences the struggles from many angles of wartime. Ingo is lost and found and lost again, as he wonders what it means to be brave and discovers courage he never knew he had.

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