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Theatre Review: Hotdog ***

Anna Burnside reviews a new production that 'steps up a gear' in its final moments.

A young woman in a terrible hotdog costume dances to Kesha’s TikTok. She then confesses to waking up with a chip in her belly button.

So far, so badass. But it doesn’t take long to realise that Hotdog is a damaged student with mummy issues and a desperate need to get out of her stultifying shared flat.

The nihilistic fast food has a plan: bargain carry out, bus to a house rave and be the coolest mover on the carpet.

Ellen Ritchie’s script is mostly Hotdog’s inner monologue. How she hates her quinoa-eating flatmates. And her mother, whose crimes are to take HRT, bring her daughter M&S ready meals and ask about her teeth. Heavy hints about something ghastly in the recent past are dropped.

At the party there’s a handbrake turn as Hotdog finds herself in the bathroom where a traumatic event took place.

Chloe-Ann Tylor does a good job of pivoting from grumpy raver to damaged goods, crumpled on the dirty floor. The writing, which has lumpy moments in the first 40 minutes, steps up a gear as the focus moves from juvenile politics to real emotions.

The focus moves in the last 10 minutes when Ross Allan ties on a pinny and switches from being an onstage stagehand and foley artist to a kindly kebab shop owner.

His strong comic performance brings warmth to Hotdog’s brittle monologue. It even ends on a hopeful note.

Hotdog performs at A Play, a Pie and a Pint at Oran Mor until March 23, 2024 before touring.

Image by Tommy Ga-Ken Wan.

Tags: theatre

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