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Review: Doggy Doo Doo and Don’t Don’ts at Factory Theatre

Review by Laura Heuston

I have a bone to pick with Hannah Gadsby. Who gave you permission to give all these brilliant comics permission to make me cry during their set? I came to Doggy Doo Doo and Don’t Don’ts expecting an hour of dogs running around a theatre, bringing new meaning to the words “apawable” and “chaos”. So why, Hannah, is Ruby Blinkhorn making me weep while wearing a pair of dog ears? WHY HANNAH?!

Not to worry fellow dog lovers, the dog does not die at the end of this show. If he did, this review would not have started with a pun but a set of expletives. Ok let’s be frank, the entire review would be expletives. My dog got a fright from a talking SAW X sign the other day and I am officially boycotting the entire series forever. I take this very seriously. But despite being brought to tears at the conclusion of Doggy Doo Doo, it really is a fantastic show.

Ruby Blinkhorn brings to life Dodger, a 6 year old spoodle who has gained sentience. Now blessed/cursed with the ability to communicate with humans, Dodger takes us through a day in the life of a dog living in the Inner West of Sydney. Through sketch, character, and musical comedy, Blinkhorn presents us with a hilarious depiction of Inner West archetypes and searches for answers to the big questions. We meet Jackie, the owner with which Dodger might be a little too obsessed, Tiffany, the Taylor Swift feminist dog mum (don’t come for me Swifties, you know she’s right), and the guy at the bar who thinks-about-women-all-the-time-which-means-he-understands-us, to name a few. It is a wonderful critique of life in Sydney’s self-proclaimed Inner Best, that could only be done by someone who has been around enough to know that we’re far less original than we claim to be. Everyone who has been here a while has met quite a few of these characters, and Blinkhorn has a natural ability to reflect us back at ourselves in a way that is both smarting and endearing.

A warning however. If you are not a fan of audience participation, do not, under any circumstances, sit in the front row. I think only two of us were not involved at some point. If you’re game though, I recommend coming up with a cute dog name. I cannot tell you the joy I experienced when I got to announce to the theatre that my dog is named Karl Barx. And given that Blinkhorn is also an expert in improvisation, she was able to make this name even funnier that it is to begin with (which is no mean feat, in my not so humble opinion).

Through all the not-as-wild-as-they-think characters and wonderfully poignant songs, we also get a look into the deeper questions of life. Dogs, it would appear, have a uniquely beautiful and hilarious way of looking at the world. Their super-sonic hearing allows them insights into people that we maybe wouldn’t want to hear ourselves, but they are at their core creatures of love and forgiveness (except for Bunny, but you’ll have to see the show to know what I’m talking about there). We always knew that we had much to learn from these wondrous creatures, and Blinkhorn has really done the work to bring these lessons to the fore with humor and tenderness. I cannot recommend seeing this show enough, whether you’re a fan of dogs, cats, or (heaven forbid) people.

Image Supplied


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