What do four dogs do when their master confines them to the basement in order to entertain his allergy prone date? They put on a play for themselves, of course. It is the conceit of The Animal Engine Theatre Company that the play they perform is a, um, ‘ruff’ re-working of George Feydeau’s Sauce for the Goose. And it’s my contention that, if Feydeau were around to witness Dog Show, he would never have written for mere humans again. Satire is much more fun doggie style!
The four dogs, Thunder (Becca Bernard), Lady (Carrie Brown), Shitsi (Melinda Jean Ferraraccio) and Lightning (Karim Muasher) play all the roles, sing, dance and whip through more wig and costume changes than any cast of Forbidden Broadway—all to hilarious results. The cast — or should I say kennel? — is uniformly fine and comes to heel under Mr. Muasher’s inventive direction. He keeps the comedy canine with little touches like having the butler, Jeeves, rewarded with kibble each time he performs a service, like bringing tea, which is not sipped, but lapped up, quite rightly.
…more wig and costume changes than any cast of Forbidden Broadway—all to hilarious results.
You don’t have to be a dog owner to love this show, though if you’ve never had a pet confined in an Elizabethan collar, you might not fully appreciate Carrie Brown’s brilliance when her Lady as Brunhilde attempts to enter a cage wearing one. While Becca Bernard’s Thunder, playing an elderly lady with a walker, will tickle anyone who ever enjoyed Tim Conway on The Carol Burnett Show. And Melinda Jean Ferraraccio’s Shitsi is a special joy as an hotelier in a curly red wig that suggests Jill St. John as a poodle.
Clearly, The Animal Engine Theatre Company is a sure-pawed group. And the sure sign of this was when Thunder and Lady went badly off key during their song. Lady tuned to the audience, shrugged and said, “Well, we’re dogs.” And Thunder howled her agreement.
In the true spirit of the Frigid Festival, it was 17 degrees out when I went to see Dog Show. But I laughed so much, it kept me warm all the way home. I give it four paws up!
Running time: 45 minutes with no intermission
Dog Show is part of the Frigid Festival and will be performed at the Kraine Theatre, 85 East 4th Street, New York City on Monday, February 23, 2015 at 10:30 pm; Saturday February 28, 2015 at 8:20 pm; Wednesday, March 4 at 7:10 pm; and Saturday March 7, 2015 at 8:20 pm.
For more information and to buy tickets, click here.