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Published on Wednesday, 23 May 2012

4 stars

The Old Courtroom (venue website)
17-19 May, 7:00pm-8:30pm
Reviewed by Naomi Dixon

 Suitable for age 15+ only.
 Warning: Contains strong language.
 2-for-1 tickets for Friends of the Fringe members.

The prospect of reviewing a show featuring football was, quite frankly, a little intimidating. I know nothing about the sport, and wondered if I would be able to give the play the analysis it deserves. However, Irons and Dogging are a little different. Both plays in this double bill are by Local Girl Productions, and look at the way sport can bring people together and also tear them apart.

Irons focuses on a family of West Ham supporters, three generations of them, all living under the same roof – and highlights the way football is the common thread that runs through all their lives. Dogging follows in much the same vein, revealing how a group of women, all working at the same dog track, have been brought together through a shared passion for their work.

Both plays use song as a strong part of their production, intertwined with narrative from each of the characters on specific topics and events in their lives. I very much enjoyed both plays; all who took part approached their roles with clear passion, and the acting and singing were excellent.

While I found both plays highly entertaining, at times it was difficult to hear the dialogue above the other cast members’ singing. This could and should have been a very powerful technique, but at times it became a distraction.

Nonetheless, both Irons and Dogging were emotional, powerful and very enjoyable, and I’m glad I got the opportunity to watch the two productions. Both take the topic of sport to a deeper level, and make it accessible for a wide audience.

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These are archived reviews of shows from Brighton 2012.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to performers, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.