Review by Eleanor Bally of Love Dogs, August 2010
The Forest Collective has achieved what it set out to do in this wonderful little piece of theatre: an effective synthesis of various disciplines. With an ensemble of musicians (Evan Lawson on clarinet/melodica, Isabel Hede on violin and Tanya Vincent on flute) and actors (Vanessa Crouch, Stephanie Osztreicher, Scott Jackson, Ashley Cleark and Kara Tichler) , ‘Love Dogs’ combines music, dialogue and action to create a rich and complex world on stage. Each character has his or her own story; each vivid, touching and slightly surreal. These stories intermingle and combine, punctuated by improvised music from the musicians. The effect is an emphasis on the musicality of words and narrative; something I found extremely exciting. The moments in which this synthesis worked best formed the most interesting parts of the performance, for instance during the story of Amanda K, a girl who dreams of falling in love. Set design was beautiful (particularly the tree, and the flat that hung behind the actors), and fitted in well with the wistful tone of the piece, and use of space was extremely effective. I can’t wait to see what the Forest Collective serves up next!