Bred To Perfection
Accidental Productions @ CitySoul
6:00pm, Tue 1 Mar 2011
A dog park would hardly seem to be an ideal place in which to situate a play, but Bred To Perfection uses it as a premise to introduce a handful of scenes, loosely linked by their doggy underpinnings.
The opening piece, with two upper-class women, is a cosy little view of the more affluent class’ approach to “integration” – a theme which peeks through again in some of the later scenes. But something doesn’t quite ring true with these women, standing with their retractable leashes stretching and wavering into the wings; maybe it’s the too-freely uncouth tongue of one of the women.
The second act is perhaps a little more identifiable, with a bloke releasing pent-up anxiety (acquired via the “little lady”) whilst walking his dog; mishaps occur, his dog gets shot, his sexuality gets challenged. Very loud, very odd. There’s a couple of short vignettes: the monster dog dragging its owner around, the scene with one dog trying to negotiate a best-friends-with-benefits deal with his bitch in heat.
But the longest piece – featuring a psychopath in the park – seems bewilderingly out of place. There’s a weight and a menace to that scene that is completely out of proportion to all those that precede it, and it leaves an oddly unpleasant taste in the mouth.
Look, there’s some laughs and entertainment to be had in Bred To Perfection, and some quality performances, too – but something didn’t quite work for me. Maybe it’s the lack of coherency between each act, or the episodic rhythm of the show, or the rather blunt political leanings of the content… or maybe it was the fact that the dialogue in some of the scenes showed its Dutch (or rather, their non-English language) origins a little too overtly; whatever it was, I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. But I have to concede that maybe it was the fact that my Dad had just been rushed to hospital, and that was playing on my mind… which is certainly no fault of this curious production.