Wednesday, May 15, 2024



The Trojan War.  A Slightly Isolated Dog production.

Directed by Leo Gene Peters.Tour producer Nicholas Clark. Performers Susie Berry, Jack Buchanan, Andrew Paterson, Jonathan Price and Comfrey Sanders. Production photos Brig Bee Photo. The Q. Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre.Queanbeyan-Palarang Council. May 14 and 15 2024. Bookings 62856290

Reviewed by Peter Wilkins


History lessons were never this much fun. But then the stories of old weren’t told with such hilarity by that hysterically madcap troupe of Kiwis from across the sea. A Slightly Isolated Dog that last brought their version of Don Juan to The Q have returned with their take on the Trojan War. It’s the perfect choice for this zany and anarchic group of performers who hurl convention to the wind and embark on an odyssey of mayhem and side-splitting entertainment.

With their special brand of audience participation, quick witted adlibbing and improvisation, A Slightly Isolated Dog weave the story of the Trojan War through discourse on Fate, dissertation on marriage, reference to the Light Rail and contemporary references. Audience members assume the roles of Gods Zeus and Athena, or are brought from the audience to play minor characters or operate the sea during Odysseus’ struggle with the Cyclops and the Sirens on his epic journey to Troy. This is history and not everything may ring true. King Aaron (another enthusiastic audience member and reading his prompt cards with feeling), did not win the hand of Helen. Luke threw himself into the fray with gusto to help Achilles battle the Trojans. But then there is enough in A Slightly Isolated Dog’s version  of the tale of King Priam, Helen of Troy, Hector and Achilles and Paris and their fate on which to hang some semblance of truth in the story of the Trojan War and the wooden horse .

It would be simplistic to claim that The Trojan War is A Slightly Isolated Dog’s manic or shambolic romp through ancient history and myth.  At times it is manic, but there is nothing shambolic about this tightly produced  and cleverly conceived interactive piece of highly skilled physical theatre. This is a company at the top of its idiosyncratic game. From the moment the actors greet the audience in the foyer before the show to the interaction with unsuspecting audience members who play along with the gag to the doubling up and the fracturing of the fourth wall, the timing is perfect, the energy is through the roof, the musical numbers rock and the curing is slick, aided by excellent lighting and sound design and operation.

A Slightly Isolated Dog recalls the tradition of the strolling players. Their set is simple – cardboard boxes that can represent battlements or be converted into a wooden horse. The large swathe of blue material emerges from an old suitcase to become the ocean. A makeshift cardboard mask becomes the great Achilles’ helmet. Weapons are mimed and the battle becomes a run-around of assault at each other and the audience.  It is high octane theatre created and presented by an ensemble of performers who keep the audience transfixed and in fits of laughter.

On their last visit A Slightly Isolated Dog promised that their production of Don Juan would offer “comedy, chaos, participation and delight”. . It’s a promise they have kept with The Trojan War.