Cuckoo Theatre: The Dog and the Elephant @ The Little House Review (Latitude Festival)

Did you know that a flock of Elephants is called a memory? Quite apt as the saying suggests that Elephants never forget! Majestic creatures that demand attention with their unquestionable gravitas, it’s about time a meaningful piece of theatre was created about the marvel.

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Presenting Cuckoo Theatre’s latest production, The Dog and the Elephant. A piece of theatre that takes the audience through a young boxer’s life, Bendigo Barlow, he bravely speaks of how the strongest bonds formed are from the animals he has met along the way, rather than friends and family. The humans within the story take a back seat, his mother and father are the negatives in his life as well as the colourful characters that he stumbles across, however the Dogs he comes across and the Elephant towards the plays conclusion are integral to the plot. Brought up in a world where he’s used to battling others physically, he finds that life is a battle emotionally as well as psychologically.

Throughout the narrative, the audience learn the correct terms for flocks of animals, including a pack of dogs, a pride of lions and an exaltation of larks. This, along with being presented with the tattoos of various animals that are apparently pivotal to the protagonist’s life heighten the respect for animals that he has. This one man show has the potential to be extremely powerful, as the audience are slowly drawn in to the protagonist’s world, however misses the mark with the presentation of the characters and animals mentioned. Although the protagonist, played by Jack Johns occasionally brings scenes to life, I’m left asking whether these scenes could be exaggerated even more so, and the world carved out even more too. The piece also remains on the one level energy-wise, and can in the future afford to really treasure the solemn moments even more so. An exciting piece of theatre however that deserves the attention it gets! 3.5/5

Review written by Lucy Basaba.

The Dog and the Elephant was shown at The Little House on Friday 17th July as part of this year’s Latitude Festival. For more information on the line up, visit here…

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