The Delights of Dogs and the Problems of People (2 stars)

This article is from 2017

The Delights of Dogs and the Problems of People

credit: Adam Trigg

Relationship drama that doesn't quite break the heart

Two mildly irritating people enter a relationship, and for a while they are happy. Hurrah! They quite literally climb up hills to shout about how great it is to be in relationship, and how glad they are to have found each other, and how sorry they feel for all the other sad couples who don't get to be them.

The Delights of Dogs and the Problems of People is the debut play by Rosalind Blessed, who also co-stars with Duncan Wilkins in this two-hander about the disintegration of a marriage. It is Robin and James' fifth wedding anniversary – or at least, it is for James, clearly in denial about the couple's second year of separation.

Though there are some nice moments in Blessed's script, the writing is generally a bit uneven. The characters both directly address the audience with an extraordinary number about of 'I remember this one time when I was eight' type recollections, and some of the dialogue about the wearing down of a relationship feels hackneyed. There are some nice hints early in the text to James' controlling and emotionally abusive true self, which shows off the best of Blessed's writing. But it's over-performed and underwritten, failing to do justice to the complex and emotive subject at hand.

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The Delights of Dogs and the Problems of People

  • 2 stars

Rosalind Blessed Terror. Joy. Rage. Jealousy. What does it cost to love? When does partner become possession? What is the price to be free? Who is gonna let the dog out? A harrowing but darkly funny look at the descent of a loving relationship into misery and abuse. There is a dangerous animal in the house, but it's not…