by Laura Ferguson
Three Dead Dogs showcases the talent of writers Catriona Tipene and Ryan Cundy. Their collaboration has created a trilogy of sweet pup-loving tales - tales that wag playfully and are full of exuberant energy. We follow the life from puppy to elderly border collie (Catriona Tipene) and see the progression of the dog’s human from boy to university student. I am delightfully amused by the manipulations of an upper crust corgi (Ryan Cundy) who tries to help his master have a successful date. And lastly, an older Scottish deerhound (Hamish Boyle) gets more than he bargained for on a walk.
Each performer imbues their doggo with a unique personality replete with mannerisms and expressions. Tipene’s border collie is more vacant yet affectionate. She lolls about on her owner’s lap, demanding belly scratches, tongue perpetually out of her mouth. Boyle’s large and roguish Scottish deerhound is hefty and thumping in gait, a more curmudgeonly personality shining through as he berates the au pair of his household to let him out. Cundy’s corgi has a posh accent and I can’t help but laugh at his “floofing” - a process of springily massaging the couch. Cundy’s rounded costume perfectly capturing that particular waddle of corgi derrières.
In between the stories, we are treated to Katie Boyle’s charming songs. She gets us prepped and ready to enjoy ourselves at the beginning of the show by gesturing for us to chorus in with woofs during “How Much Is That Doggy In The Window?”. She keeps the mood alight with how we should feel throughout the show: fun, bopping ditties for comedic endings and hang-dog ballads for a mournful conclusion. I particularly love her giggling wiggle after this to let us know the next story is back to the fun, giving us permission to laugh again.
Three Dead Dogs was one of my must-see picks of Fringe Festival 2018 and the show went above and beyond my already inflated expectations. I loved being able to celebrate the animal companions that have helped shape my life but also gave me an enormous yearning to be a pet owner again. I wonder how much is that doggy in the window…