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So Help Me Dog | Hen and Chickens Theatre

So Help Me Dog, the latest play from Dean Stalham at the Hen and Chickens Theatre follows the stream of consciousness that is protagonist's Danny Franks legal trial, the subsequent imprisonment and the proceeding events and broken systems that led to his situation. Sentenced to three and a half years for possessing £6 million in famous art, to say Danny Franks is a victim of circumstance would be incorrect, he is a survivor of circumstance, somehow maintaining a sense of humour in the face of institutionalised classism and ableism, making the most of the cards dealt him.


So Help Me Dog uses vague meta-theatrical devices and asks the audience to confront their own privilege by positioning them as the jurors to his criminal trial. Not only does the play criticise and satirise the insidious and interconnected systems of oppression that work to hoard wealth and gate keep the working class, but it is also an attempted call to arms for the rights of prisoners, the working class, and the otherwise disenfranchised.



It’s clear that Stalham is an expert wordsmith, crafting exquisitely lyrical and stirring

passages. However, Stalham spends precious time favouring these long waves of vivid imagery instead of crafting plot. The script was performed brilliantly by a small but mighty cast of actors who did a great job with an often-meandering script, working overtime to thread the needle of endless, albeit powerful, tangents.


Though dramatically questionable at times, Stalham’s script is full of exciting twists, wordplay, and delicious language and speaks to large and important issues concerning the hopelessly flawed justice system, prisoner rights, and the cycles of abuse perpetuated by the upper echelons of society. Despite its dramaturgical flaws, one must wonder if Stalham is secretly a linguistic genius in disguise.


So Help Me Dog is running at the Hen and Chickens Theatre until 15th June - for more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.


⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3*)


Gifted tickets in return for an honest review | photography by Christopher Sherwood

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