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Doglife review at Summerhall, Edinburgh – ‘bold and direct’

Grassmarket Projects' Doglife Grassmarket Projects' Doglife
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Doglife builds on Thomas McCrudden’s brutal and bruising Doubting Thomas, performed in the same space a year ago. The previous show gave the ultra-violence of McCrudden’s former life as a gangland enforcer a stark and realistic frame. Now this, the second part of an anticipated trilogy, returns to examine the effects of that life on love and relationships.

It is fear, however, which McCrudden reveals in an opening monologue as the overriding emotion of that life. Fear drives everything before it and the ensuing monologues and vignettes, performed by untrained actors speaking of events based on their own experiences, show that all other emotions are consumed by it.

Apart from McCrudden’s, the voices here are predominantly female although the complexities of his long-term relationship come to the fore. Around that, from its truth-or-dare playground beginnings and the couplings and rejections of the ensuing 30 years, questions are asked about where and whether love can find a hold.

There is real power here, in performances that brandish strong, realistic language and conversation that is never crafted like conventional dialogue. Jeremy Weller’s direction is equally bold and direct, although it feels that this will not be as powerful for those who have not experienced the trilogy’s first part. However, it bodes very well indeed, should the whole trilogy be staged in a year’s time.

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Strong second part of real-life gangland trilogy that needs the first part to be fully appreciated