good dog @ The Northern Stage Review

Carefully crafted to meet reality, Arinzé Kene’s play centres around the simple, graceful dreams of a young black teen growing up in a London neighbourhood during the early noughties. With hopes and dreams revolving around finally receiving a much desired bike and a big heart full of unapologetic kindness, nothing can go wrong, right? “Pay them no mind and goodness will come your way“You hear them whisperEventually the bigger man wins”…

Courtesy of Wasi Daniju.

Courtesy of Wasi Daniju.

But what happens when even strong spirits wear out due to injustices and goodness makes sense no more? Here comes the turn then;  a simple, yet strong change of events that leaves you almost teary, there’s a sense of bitterness of growing up different in a multi-cultural community. But this is not a sad story indeed, it’s a play of humour and tragedy tracking the ups and downs of people’s lifetime experience retold through the wide open eyes of a teenager too mature for his age. Simplistic décor and wooden walls (Amelia Jane Hankin) are symbolic of the obstacles “boy” finds himself climbing up on a daily basis, leaving his bullies and fears behind. And it’s not just a personal narrative, it’s a picture of a lively neighbourhood with parents’ hopes for their children to “turnout better”, wives dreaming of their husbands seeing them with the same loving eyes as they used to, owners praying for their shop clients to be nicer tomorrow and everyone waiting for happiness to start growing within.  

Kwaku Mills monologue leaves audiences with familiar messages of hope whilst walking through a storm and spirit so graceful that even the most frightening of events can’t crush. It’s simply a catharsis that comes his way to wipe out the childish-like ephemeral goodness that doesn’t disappear but just flows into a different shape. One thing is for sure, this story touches the depths of your existence, no matter if you’ve ever been in this boy’s shoes or you’ve just realised watching how bittersweet happiness turns out to be. 4/5

Review written by Yoana Cholteeva.

good dog was shown at the Northern Stage Theatre on Saturday 9th February 2019. The production is currently on tour and will play at the Stephen Joseph Theatre on Tuesday 12th and Wednesday 13th February. To find out more about the production and tour, visit here…



Written by Theatrefullstop