The Dog in a Manger from We Happy Few (review)

Imagine if a comedy from a charismatic SNL blueprint was intertwined with touching essay from a Spanish Golden Age of theatre. The result: The Dog in a Manger. This sparky delivery of Lope De Vega’s 17th century play blends meta jokes, farce, and governmental reflections to emanate a reduction of stimulative fun.

The Dog in a Manger transports us to a estate of a Countess Diana, a burning lady who binds her servants in an iron hold and grasps for a consistent state of control. When she discovers that Marcela, her lady-in-waiting, and Teodoro, her secretary, are lovers, she develops a jealousy that fast transforms into critical love. If she can’t have a lower-class Teodoro, nobody can.

(l-r) Tori Boutin, Charlie Retzlaff, Natalie Cutcher and Debora Crabbe in The Dog in a Manger (Photo: Mark Williams Hoelscher)

The chemistry and comedic talents of Manger’s close expel is what gives a uncover a singular vivacity. This isn’t a warn deliberation that We Happy Few productions are known for their parsimonious ensembles. Each actor plays off of a other with palliate and pleasure while bringing lovably particular tendencies to their roles. Teamwork creates Manger dazzle.

A infancy of a 7-person-cast plays some-more than one character. I’ll share a highlights of their portrayals: Raven Bonniwell’s hugely fluent eyes communicate Diana’s craving and fatality from a mile away. Kiernan McGowan balances a prolongation as Teodoro; personification a true male while adding in pieces of self-righteousness to give a impression flavor. Natalie Cutcher uses her bell-like voice to play an ingenuous, though feisty Marcela. Tori Boutin and Debora Crabbe chauvinistically blow about as Diana’s elegant suitors, radically being a Tweedledee and Tweedledum of a show. Charlie Retzlaff’s chronicle of Count Ludovico is endearingly naive. And Louis E. Davis executes a purpose of Tristan, Teodoro’s sidekick, with energy and tomfoolery.

Kiernan McGowan and Louis E. Davis in The Dog in a Manger (Photo: Mark Williams Hoelscher)

A fast period of well-timed earthy and written comedy serves as Manger’s foundation, featuring jokes that rip down a fourth wall section by brick. At one point, Teodoro “hides” by holding a chair among assembly members and reading a program. But it’s a show’s altogether zaniness that allows a still and thought-provoking moments to mount out, interjection to a work of directors Hannah Todd and Bridget Grace Sheaff. When characters take time to acknowledgement on their issues with relationships, class, and privilege, we wish to gaunt in and listen. 

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The Dog in a Manger


closes Dec 2, 2017
Details and tickets
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The elementary set pattern lends itself to a play’s conscious stupidity but going overboard. Actors pierce about a black box stage, strategically transforming elementary set pieces by discerning transitions. One waggish bit occurs as Diana smoke from a window that menacingly rolls closer to her servants. It’s like something out of “Jaws.” My one uncertainty is that several of a set square transitions are loud and distracting.

The Dog in a Manger produces copiousness of laughs alongside instances that naturally plead viewers to introspection. If we suffer slapstick with your amicable commentary, you’ll have a good time examination this production.
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The Dog in a Manger by Lope de Vega . Directed by Hannah Todd and Bridget Grace Sheaff. Featuring Raven Bonniwell, Tori Boutin, Debora Crabbe, Natalie Cutcher, Louis E. Davis, Kiernan McGowan, and Charlie Retzlaff. Scenic design: Jimmy Stubbs. Costume design: Moyenda Kulemeka. Lighting design: Jason Aufdem-Brinke. Props design: Sarah Kamins. Sound design: Robert Pike. Fight director: Andrew Keller. Fight captain: Tori Boutin. Stage manager: Sarah Kamins. Marketing director: Kerry McGee. Graphic designer: Arnel Sancianco. Dramaturg: Keith Hock. Producer: Robert Pike. Production manager: Kiernan McGowan. Producing artistic director: Raven Bonniwell. Founding Artistic Director: Hannah Todd. Produced by We Happy Few. Reviewed by Emily Priborkin.

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