Synopsis: Brenda, a seemingly guileless young actress, meets with Bradley, a troubled, middle-aged producer to discuss the film on which they are working. Brenda wants to be a star, she even chants for it! But Collette, the other actress in the film, is in her way. Both Brenda and Bradley want to make changes to the film and cunningly work together to get their way.
Meanwhile, Collette has her own agenda: She knows she is not as young as she once was and tries to convince writer, Victor, to alter the film so she can be heroine. Then there is Victor, a naïve young writer from Off-Off Broadway who doesn’t know how to handle any of this, and his mother just died….
Through cat fights and mock bonding these backstabbing stars cause confrontations over the state of the film. All the lies and backbiting are exposed as these four dogs go after their bone.
Review: I don’t know what it was about ‘Four Dogs and a Bone’ that I didn’t like. I attended the first preview night and saw it last night also and my thoughts were much the same. I concluded that I just didn’t care for the writing, or thought much of the characters. I didn’t find it particularly funny, though majority of the audience did. So in this case it’s not whether the show was good or bad I just didn’t like anything about the story. It felt dated and quite frankly uninteresting and done. Regardless, my review can’t be based on my personal taste of the show, as a reviewer I think personal taste should be an element but primarily how the production was put together is what should be reviewed. So here goes.
Kate Gaul, is one of Sydney’s best known directors, her reputation proceeds her. Gaul took the stripped back approach with this play leaving the entire stage for her actors to showcase themselves through the writing. This choice is fine in itself if the casted actors have the correct measure of charisma and personality that these roles require. Though Gaul has casted some talented actors I’m not sure if they were the overall best selection for this production.
Amanda Collins plays Collette, the apparent ageing broadway star. Collins for one is far from ageing and though her performance was strong and at times comical, it felt stretched. The comedy lost on her youth. It was like trying to watch a 26 year old play Velma Kelly, I just didn’t believe that she had that wealth of life experience behind her to back up her current desperate scenario. Collins is a committed actor but she wasn’t right for the part.
Melinda Dransfield plays Brenda, the young aspiring actress who is trying to chant and lie her way to the top. Dransfield like Collins gave a strong performance. Her comic timing was commendable and her character was so odd, she had plenty to work with. Dransfield gave an enjoyable performance to an eccentric role.
Paul Gerrard plays Victor, the writer. Gerrard was the strongest choice out of all who were cast, he’s the only one who I felt had some real-life collateral behind him. Gerrard presented a worn out confused writer well, his delivery was palatable and had a raw edge to it which made him fun to watch.
Sonny Vrebrac plays, Bradley the producer. Vrebrac had a confidence that was very American and true to his character, holding nothing back he gave his all to the audience.
‘Four Dogs and a Bone’ is an American comedy…If you enjoy slap stick humour with a dash of ‘Days of Our Lives’ you will probably enjoy this production.
On at the Old Fitzroy, SITCO stage until the 27th of September