Review: My Beautiful Black Dog @ Underbelly Cowgate

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Moyan Brenn, Edinburgh Festival / CC
Photograph: Moyan Brenn / CC

Verdict: Recommended Show

Genre: Musical Theatre

Venue: Underbelly Cowgate

Company: Boom Shakalaka Productions

Lowdown

‘A musical about depression. Where theatre meets gig, meets tidal wave of glitter. MBBD is going to Edinburgh Fringe Festival and hopes to go on tour if granted enough funding.’

Review

Part theatre, part music gig, Brigitte Aphrodite performs with Quiet Boy and sets out to rase awareness of the issue of depression and to have a little fun with it too. 

The things she talks about and sings will have relevance for a lot of people and, seeing only half of the audience laugh at certain moments, perhaps proves that it works on two levels: for those who have experienced it those moments feel very real and for those who have not it is simply entertaining. The portrayal of the medical system in place right now is very accurate and there are moments that are painfully true but at times it appears too comical for the subject matter. Treating it too lightly can have the opposite effect and lead people to not take depression as a serious matter. The darker moments need to be much darker to create a very noticeable contrast between the fun she provides and the moments of nothingness and despair. Doing this will strengthen the messages within the performance and provide a richer experience for all the audience.

Aphrodite is a very likeable and endearing character, as is Quiet Boy, and she portrays the complexities of the character and her illness very well. The box she sometimes closes herself into is a powerful visual of what it can be like and the voicemails from family and friends that play at one point push home the point of the show. The glitter, balloons and general party atmosphere is infectious, as are the catchy songs that capture all aspects of depression.

There is potential for a strong show that highlights what those with depression face and it debunks some myths. However, it is lacking in that depth right now and requires some polishing up to get it to the next level. For those who have experience of the ‘Black Dog’ this may fall slightly flat as it does not quite create the feeling – or lack of them – that depression brings. A show of this kind should have audiences really thinking on the content all while leaving with a smile on their face

This review originally appeared on FringeReview and is reproduced in partnership with their permission.

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About Christine Lawler 42 Articles
Christine has a passion for literature and has been a closeted writer since childhood. Other passions include theatre, film, and all things geeky. She lives in Glasgow with a cat named Molls and a tortoise named Haruki Kabuki.

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