David Ireland has come up with a shocking, very funny and terrifying farce about that cauldron seething with violence, myth, sectarianism, patriotism and nationalism that is Northern Ireland. It turns out quite literally to be a shaggy dog story. He shocked audiences with Cyprus Avenue, seen at the Royal Court with Stephen Rea as a man convinced his grand daughter is , a belief which ended with a stage drenched in blood, he does so again with this story of a man and someone else’s dog. Daragh O’Malley s Alan Black, known as Snuffy, a loyalist found consulting his doctor because he cannot sleep – he blames it on his neighbour’s dog. But he refuses to talk to his neighbour. One thing leads o another in a series of surprising and breathtaking surprises none of which one should give away. O’Malley gives a masterly performance and the rest of the cast is faultless with Kevin Trainer matching him in two roles as Doctor O’Hara, who has little time for his annoying patient, and Lando Calrisian whom he encounters along the way as he seeks a solution to the problem of the dog that barks in the night, especially as it owner denies owning a dog. It lasts for 75 minutes and director Max Elton has created something of a roller coaster ride which should not be missed. The Finborough approaches the end 2021 with a play not to be missed and not many theatres can say that these days. The chances are what you see on stage is the like of what you will never have seen before. Ireland pulls no punches.
Alan Black: Daragh O’Malley.
Dr O’Hara: Kevin Trainor.
The Neigbour McCormick: Owen O’neill.
Sinead: Laura Dos Santos.
Paddy: Kevin Murphy.
Lando Calrissian: Kevin Trainor.
James Craig: Kevin Murphy.
Edward Carso: Declan Rodgers.
Aine: Laura Dos Santos.
Designer: Ceci Calf.
Costume Designer: Isobel Pellow.
Lighting Designer: Arnim Friess.
Sound Designer & Composer: Jack Baxter.
Production Photograph: Tristram Kenton.