Dogstar at the Tabard Theatre
When a mysterious stranger cannot pay for a drink of water in a small town bar, questions of ownership threaten everyone’s values, and even life itself.
Dogstar is a small play that explores big ideas, and goes straight into its philosophical and ethical dilemmas. Beautifully and intelligently written by Greg Freeman, it’s a dark comedy that is not slapstick, but genuinely funny. Each of the four characters is an exaggerated version of a type: Dogstar himself is the outsider in this Wild West town of immigrants, who always remains enigmatic and questioning, like a moral savant who can see through to the simplicity of why – why does water belong to you if it is freely given as rain? Does a person not have a right to quench their thirst? Dogstar is a drifter who chooses not to be a slave to objects by owning them, played by Ben Warwick who manages to maintain his mysterious demeanour throughout: both a benign and dangerous presence.
The cast is a cohesive group, but special mention must go to Rhys King as Clay, the number one citizen of the town who owns everything and everyone in sight. Clay is delightfully smarmy and officious, and intelligent enough to recognise a genuine threat in Dogstar. Jaymes Sygrove as Jed plays the downtrodden barman finally getting his day and revealing an alarming suppressed immorality. Laura Pradelska as Violet knows her value as the town virgin, and considers her own worth as a trading commodity.
Everyone has a value, and seemingly a price, but the town is caught in the murk of mistaking what can and should be owned, and what power that gives over other people. Events and arguments escalate, threatening everyone’s rights to ownership, their own ideas and their lives.
Certainly a play through which to consider current affairs of greed and the distribution of resources, Dogstar is a work grown around a moral question, and a reminder that theatre can explore ethical ideas without preaching and pretending naturalism.
Dogstar is at the Tabard Theatre until 30th November 2013. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.
Watch trailer for Dogstar here: