THEATER | DANCE | CLASSICAL MUSIC | OPERA | COMEDY

NORTH TEXAS PERFORMING ARTS NEWS

REVIEWS

From left: Drew Wall, Newton Pittman and Jonathan Brooks

Review: The Dog Problem | Undermain Theatre


Unnecessary Ruff-ness

Undermain Theatre's The Dog Problem is the cat's pajamas.



published Friday, October 29, 2010

When real animals appear onstage, as in every production of The Wizard of Oz or Annie, it induces awwws from the audience. To a lesser degree, that happens when Buddy makes his entrance in Undermain Theatre's production of David Rabe's The Dog Problem.

He's a beaut of a medium-sized mutt, well behaved and without so much as an inkling of stage fright. It's too bad about the thing that happens to him.

Rabe's dark comedy uses the dog as the catalyst for a series of confrontations between a group of kooky mobster types, and the dog's owner, Ray (Jonathan Brooks), and his bumbling sidekick, Ronnie (Drew Wall). You see, Ray had a one-night fling with Teresa (Shannon Kearns-Simmons), sister of bad guy Joey (Newton Pittman).

To make Ray pay, and because the dog was apparently watching the bow-chicka-wow-wow (bow-wow?), the pooch has to take the bullet. But not before Uncle Malvolio (Bruce Dubose) and his goon, Tommy Stones (Andrew Aguilar), get involved.

There's no sense in any of it, really, but Rabe isn't trying to create a world wherein sense is made. Where's the fun in that? Undermain's gorgeous production, directed by Katherine Owens, turns the fun up to 11.

The playwright is more interested in who's-on-first dialogue, so that when the plot turns into something metaphysically absurd (there's also a creepy-clownish Priest, played by Kent Williams), these characters and situations don't feel so out of place. So what if they live in even more of a bizarroland than The Sopranos did?

Owens has assembled her Undermain mainstays, and no doubt picked this play because she knows that Brooks and Pittman, most notably, can handle the rapid-fire talking in circles without winking or flubbing. And that they do—with a side of gusto. Wall has played his share of ne'er-do-wells, but takes that to an absurd level here. Dubose always manages to temper outlandish characters with regal speech.

The Dog Problem goes on about 20 minutes too long, as it gets more weird and sidles up to the edge of tedious. It's not to worry, though, because there's so much to admire about John Arnone's set, with a park bench and tiny kitchen plopped into a pop-art wonderland; and Giva Taylor's fabulous thrift store-mobster wear.

And then there's Buddy. For so perfectly playing a character whose happy-go-lucky innocence sets off a chain of senseless, and increasingly nonsensical, events, he deserves a treat. Someone give that guy a bacon-wrapped soup bone. Thanks For Reading





Dates, Prices, & Other Details

View the Article Slideshow

Comment on this Article

Share this article on Social Media
Click or Swipe to close
Unnecessary Ruff-ness
Undermain Theatre's The Dog Problem is the cat's pajamas.
by Mark Lowry

Share this article on Facebook
Tweet this article
Share this article on Google+
Share this article via email
Fade Snowflakes Watertower Theatre John Uptown Players UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera
Gobsmacked
Fade Snowflakes Watertower Theatre John Uptown Players UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera
Gobsmacked
Fade Snowflakes Watertower Theatre John Uptown Players UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera
Gobsmacked
Fade Snowflakes Watertower Theatre John Uptown Players UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera
Gobsmacked
Fade Snowflakes Watertower Theatre John Uptown Players UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera
Gobsmacked
Fade Snowflakes Watertower Theatre John Uptown Players UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera
Gobsmacked
Fade Snowflakes Watertower Theatre John Uptown Players UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera
Gobsmacked
Fade Snowflakes Watertower Theatre John Uptown Players UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera
Gobsmacked
Fade Snowflakes Watertower Theatre John Uptown Players UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera
Gobsmacked
Fade Snowflakes Watertower Theatre John Uptown Players UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera
Gobsmacked
Fade Snowflakes Watertower Theatre John Uptown Players UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera
Gobsmacked
Fade Snowflakes Watertower Theatre John Uptown Players UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera
Gobsmacked
Fade Snowflakes Watertower Theatre John Uptown Players UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera
Gobsmacked
Fade Snowflakes Watertower Theatre John Uptown Players UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera
Gobsmacked
Fade Snowflakes Watertower Theatre John Uptown Players UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera
Gobsmacked
Fade Snowflakes Watertower Theatre John Uptown Players UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera
Gobsmacked
Fade Snowflakes Watertower Theatre John Uptown Players UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera
Gobsmacked
Fade Snowflakes Watertower Theatre John Uptown Players UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera
Gobsmacked
Fade Snowflakes Watertower Theatre John Uptown Players UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera
Gobsmacked
Fade Snowflakes Watertower Theatre John Uptown Players UNT Dance and Theatre Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera
Gobsmacked
Click or Swipe to close
reviews
views on theater, dance, classical music, opera and comedy performances
news & notes
reports from the local performing arts scene
features & interviews
who and what are moving and shaking in the performing arts scene
season announcements
keep up with the arts groups' upcoming seasons
audiocasts
listen to interviews with people in the local performing arts scene
media reviews
reviews and stories on performing arts-related film, TV, recordings and books
arts organizations
learn more about the local producing and presenting arts groups
performance venues
learn more about the theaters and spaces where the arts happen
contests
keep up with fabulous ticket giveaways and other promotions
crowdfunding
connect to local arts crowdfunding campaigns
studio
post or view auditions and performing arts-related classes, services, jobs and more
about us
info on TheaterJones, our staff, what we do and how to contact us
Click or Swipe to close
First Name:
Last Name:
Date of Birth:
ZIP Code:
Your Email Address:
Click or Swipe to close
Join TheaterJones Around the Web



Follow Us on Twitter

Subscribe to our Youtube Channel

Click or Swipe to close
Search the TheaterJones Archives
Use any or all of the options below to search through all of reviews, interviews, features and special sections. If you are looking for a an event, use the calendar section of this website. This search will not search through the calendar.
Article Title Search:


Description Search:
TheaterJones Contributor:


TheaterJones Section:


Category:
Showing on or after:      Showing on or before:  
Search
Click or Swipe to close
We welcome your comments

I am discussing:  



Your Name:
Your Email Adress:


please enter the text below and then click or tap SUBMIT :
Submit