Dr Blood’s Old Travelling Show – Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

Reviewer: Selwyn Knight

Co-Writers and Directors: Andrew Quick and Pete Brooks

All is not well in the corridors of power of a northern town. Three local leaders – the mayor, the chief constable and the headmaster – are mixed up in corruption that will make them rich, just as soon as the new casino is approved and built. But all is not going to plan – Councillor Snow has got wind of their plans and a meeting is arranged late at night with the intention of removing this obstacle by any means. Will they succeed in this devious plan? And who is the sinister Dr Gorgon who observes them?

Imitating The Dog is well known for its innovative use of live video feeds and projections including strange angles and juxtapositions. Dr Blood’s Old Travelling Show additionally brings to mind gothic drama, comic strip and fairground barkers in this small scale outdoor piece with its ingenious set that seems to burst out of a van. Inventive use of masks, dolls, models and perspective allows the fact that this is a socially distanced production borne out of lockdown to pass unnoticed.

The cast of three takes all the roles, including those of Dr Gorgon (Matt Prendergast) and his acolytes Esheth (Laura Atherton) and Elua (Keicha Greenidge), as well as the unfortunate trio at the heart fo the story. This ensemble piece is a truly over the top  – and bloody – satire. It’s short – thirty minutes – and inevitably the characters are drawn with broad brushes but it still succeeds in raising questions – is free will an illusion, for example – while remaining entertaining and fast-moving. The whole is driven by the jangling guitars of the soundtrack.

And all too soon it’s over and the audience – which has stood outside in the cooling autumnal Coventry night – moves on with questions still ringing in their ears having watched what feels like theatre in miniature.

Runs until 24 October 2020

The Reviews Hub Score

Small but perfectly formed

The Reviews Hub - Central

The Central team is under the editorship of Selwyn Knight. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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