In The Shadow Of The Black Dog @ Assembly Rooms

In The Shadow Of The Black Dog is a heartfelt production which opens an important dialogue, but with a messy delivery

Review by Dominic Corr | 14 Aug 2019
  • In The Shadow Of The Black Dog

Time and time again we hear the same thing; “they were fine yesterday”. Suicide often gives no clues; it doesn’t leap out and holler attention. It’s a dark, cold and lonely experience which neither support nor discuss enough.

Alquist is having a bit of downward spiral. Recently single, the world uninspiring, a dead-end job and a weak relationship with his father, he relies on the moments of solace with his best friend. One day – it shatters, any tether which may have been hanging in there is lost as his friend takes his own life.

Visceral in performance, In The Shadow of the Black Dog is innately human in response to loss. It isn’t hiding anything, refreshingly baring all the strife in coping, not only with death but the sickening realisation that you may recognise these feelings in yourself.

As one expects, humour is present in a production centring around depression or suicide. Daniel Hallissey has timing and great control of a crowd, but one or two jokes land awkwardly or seem ill-judged. The disorganised script has its key points but shuffles them haphazardly together. Perhaps a reflection on the tangled mess Alquist finds his life to be in, it’s a struggle to keep up with the intense pace.

Hallissey persuades us to upon dialogues concerning the alarming nature around men suffering from depression, anxiety or even loneliness. Profoundly personal, In The Shadow of the Dog is staged by an engaging performer, with an important goal – it could just do with some clarification to get this message out.

In The Shadow of The Black Dog, Assembly Rooms (Front Room), until 24 Aug, 6.30pm, £9-11