Shropshire Events and Whats On Guide

Shropshire Events and Whats On Guide

Theatre Review : Music For Dogs

Chris Eldon Lee reviews ‘Music For Dogs’ which is at Shrewsbury’s Wightman Theatre until Saturday 18th October.

There is a chair on a misty beach in Ireland. The sound of the sea in sucking back and forth, whilst a distant dog barks for its mistress. When she arrives, she has a mobile phone with her and is recording a lengthy confession to be heard, posthumously, by the estranged brother and sister who will inherit her small fortune. What we want to know – and she wants to tell them – is how she came by the money. The clue is in the title.

The old Wightman Theatre (once a Temperance Hall) just off Shrewsbury’s Square is having new life breathed into it – and the latest CPR is lunchtime theatre.

‘Music for Dogs’ is a 40-minute one-woman show originally written for radio by Ireland’s Professor of Poetry Paula Meehan – and it’s a charming and utterly delightful whimsy that had a full house sighing at the wistfulness and laughing out loud at the razor sharp gags. It’s a lovely piece of writing, delivered on a tiny, solo stage by Carol Caffrey.

The woman she plays has a degree of ‘the bonkers’ about her; otherwise she wouldn’t have come up with such a ridiculously successful idea. Carol gives us a faithful, atmospheric performance that savours the prose and delivers the emotions with respect and gentility. The day I saw her I felt she was perhaps performing on a slightly too even keel. The woman is on a broad beach calling for her dog, whilst surveying the flotsam and jetsam of a foreshortened life. So there is scope for more dynamism.

But the ideas she conveys, as she carefully reels us in with her crazy but ultimately logical tale, and her first class delivery of her deadpan jokery win the day. A hip flask swishes away her tears and a wicked smile underlines her naughtier thoughts. It’s a great story, well told and even when Carol called for a couple of minor prompts she did it with such invention, they became part of the show.

It was lovely lunchtime and, just to perpetuate the joke, you can buy CDs of her ‘Music For Dogs’ in aid of Severn Hospice after the show. Worse; if you go on line, you can find people who are selling them for real.

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