Holden Street Theatres’ The Studio, Wed Feb 25
Penned by Australian playwright Maxine Mellor, Anna Robi & the House of Dogs is unapologetically ‘in your face’ for the entire time. The Studio stage is littered with newspaper and dominated by the double bed shared by the long suffering, yet ultimately annoying and blindingly naïve Anna (Hannah Nicholson) and her malignant barnacle of a mother (Emily Branford). Opening bedwetting and fart fluffing scenes set the tone for the night as we learn that Anna’s bed has been taken over by the dogs her mother hoards, leaving her no choice and no privacy.
This is vaguely a comedy of errors as we witness Anna’s convoluted phone calls to her ‘one true love’, Roger, (voiced brilliantly by Phil Harker) who manages to misread every word as a sexual come on. Nicholson was wonderfully awkward in an over the top kind of way, and Branford was superbly acidic in a character role that was something like a cross between Cruella de Vil and Violet Weston.
The opening scenes, subject matter and the never ending coarse language was initially a little too much for some, a few nervous giggles greeting the first few minutes of the show. Once we got over it however, the audience seemed to enjoy themselves and warmed up to the ridiculous situation before us – Anna’s attempts to get her mother out of the house (and the bed) allowing Roger to come and remove her virginity.
Without giving it all away, one sits through a variety of cringe worthy moments that may or may not include copulating puppets, phone sex, fouler than foul language, phone sex, matriarchal sex, Doris Day and… phone sex. You can’t sit through this without appreciating the energy and physicality of the actors. You also can’t sit through this if you are easily offended.
Rosie van Heerde
Anna Robi & The House Of Dogs continues at Holden Street Theatres’ The Studio until Sun 8 Mar.
Book at FringeTIX on 1300 621 255 or adelaidefringe.com.au/fringetix. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.