Play review by Julia Pattison: Mikron’s A Dog’s Tale at Scarcroft Allotments
Play: A Dog’s Tale
Venue: Scarcroft Allotments, York
Review by: Julia Pattison
Mikron has always been a theatre company who mucks in- all hands on deck when travelling on the narrow boat Tyseley, and at every rural venue.
And that was the case when I arrived to take my socially distanced allotted slot at Scarcroft Allotments on a beautiful summer evening; like bees buzzing, the cast of four busied themselves welcoming and then escorting audience members to their places, selling merchandise, tuning up instruments and so on.
Then the canine comedy capers began, with veteran Mikron actor James Mclean getting our immediate attention playing his trombone in the role of Charles Cruft, a showman known in his lifetime as the “British Barnum” – perfect casting as James is a born showman.
James was soon joined by his fellow actors, all multi-talented musicians who sang like angels too (and what a joy it was to hear live music again), and we were treated to a rollicking opening musical number, Roll Up, Roll Up To Crufts!
It was good to see Rachel Benson and Elizabeth Robin back for their second year with Mikron, making the quick changes between characters, accents and instrument playing seem effortless.
Rachel played Linda, for a lot of the time, on a mission to find her scruffy, but beloved pooch, ‘Gary’ who’d been dognapped…
Both owner and dog were lost in their different ways, and it made great theatre watching the journey they made, and all the characters met along the way.
Actor Thomas Cotran was joining Mikron for the first time; you’d have never have known it, he was very much at ease in his many roles, especially as earnest Daniel, an Animal Welfare Protester.
All the cast worked brilliantly as an ensemble, as well as shining equally brightly in their many multi roles and in the excellent musical numbers.
The “pulling” on the leads as the actors provided the necessary barking sound effects made for great entertainment, and we soon got to know the personalities of the dogs through their owners.
A lively script and song lyrics by Poppy Hollman, delivered with energy and enthusiasm by the cast, directed by Rachel Gee, designed by Celia Perkins, and music composed and directed by Rebekah Hughes made for a ‘Mastiff’ly amusing play. Who could keep a straight face at MC Poop Dog’s Rap, or the antics of Nutty the Dog as the “Walkies” Trainer was led a merry dance?
I laughed so much I had to “paws” for breath, but as always with Mikron, I also learnt a lot, this time about the eccentric and very British world of Crufts.