My Dog’s Got No Nose

Aug 25 2016 | By More

★★★☆☆    Old-fashioned

The Royal Scots Club (Venue 241) 23-27 Aug 2016
Review by Hugh Simpson

My Dog’s Got No Nose, presented by Phil Barnes for Arkle at the Royal Scots Club, is a well acted piece that manages to sustain considerable interest.

Ron Aldridge’s play features an ageing would-be stand-up comic, fretting backstage before what he hopes is his big break. Over the course of the piece, the story of his life, loves and misfortunes unfolds.

Publicity image

Publicity image

What could be an ideal one-person Fringe show at 45 minutes long instead runs to well over an hour. This extra length is not put to great use; there is an air of repetition to a storyline that takes far longer to unfold than is necessary. Twists and revelations take so long to arrive that they can easily be predicted, when a tauter narrative would have preserved the element of surprise.

Despite this lack of pace, Barnes and director John Lally manage to create an involving and convincing persona. Indeed, considering there are elements of the character’s development over the play that hardly bear close examination, Barnes does very well. Such a long stretch of acting without an interval is also a test of stamina, and he responds well on the whole.

An affable, easy-going style predominates that is well suited to the mixture of comedy, reflection, exposition and interaction with the audience that features here. It is not a natural mixture, and the joins could be a lot easier to spot in a less assured performance.

There are good reasons why, when it comes, the stand-up routine is not the most cutting-edge, but it is disappointing it turns about to be a rest home for those tired old jokes whose questionable standard Ronnie Corbett was wont to disguise by those chair-bound digressions that became the whole point of the routine.

Nevertheless, Barnes tries to convince us that the old ones are the best, with the same engaging manner that characterises the rest of the performance.

Running time: 1 hour 20 minutes
The Royal Scots Club (Venue 241), 29-31 Abercromby Place, EH3 6QE
Tuesday 23 – Saturday 27 August 2016
Daily at 4.00 pm
Book tickets on the EdFringe website:
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