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Sunday, 11 March 2018

REVIEW: The Dog Beneath the Skin at the Jermyn Street Theatre

WH Auden is best known as a poet writing throughout the 1930's to 1960's with strong left wing views. Christopher Isherwood is best known as the writer of the book that became the hit musical Cabaret set against the background of Nazi Germany. Proud Haddock have unearthed a play they wrote together in 1935, The Dog beneath the skin and revived it at the tiny 70 seats Jermyn Street Theatre as part of their Scandal season describing it as a rediscovered classic. 

It tells the story of Alan Norman, selected by the village of Pressan Ambo, to search for the missing heir Sir Francis Crewe; the previous nine adventurers having never returned. His quest is different as he is accompanied by a whisky drinking dog called George, played by Cressida Bonas in what looks like a gas mask. An Ambo is a pulpit and the writers use the pretext to preach their thoughts on what was happening in Europe under the growing influence of Hitler and Mussolini.

It is a bizarre mad quest into Europe of the thirties presented as a series of weird musical hall sketches as they meet the King of Ostnia ,a South American gangster, prostitutes, the madmen of Westland, experimental scientists, art critics and showgirls. Each scene lampoons society leaders and takes societal norms to extreme caricatures.
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