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Print Version

Auckland Fringe 2013
By Amelia Guild & Emma Newborn

at Q Theatre Loft, 305 Queen St, Auckland
From 21 Feb 2013 to 23 Feb 2013

Reviewed by Melissa Fergusson, 22 Feb 2013

After touring Nationwide, The Bitches' Box now graces the Auckland stage to reveal the multiple layers and the inner psyches of 'man's best friend'. 

Walking into the intimate space of the loft theatre at Q, we hear farm animal sounds (baas and moos) and a farmer whistling as he goes about his duties.

The set is minimal with two makeshift kennels and a red curtain backdrop. This show has been performed in many wool sheds up and down the North and South Islands, so I assume they just use the resources they have, with basic props.

In walk Emma Newborn and Amelia Guild who gallivant as the two bitches on heat, Red and Twink respectively. Red is mature and experienced with 'knotting', which means having sex in dog language. Twink is virginal and innocent, so listens intently to the wise words of Red, who also throws in a few facts like how many times dogs are mentioned in the bible, the sleeping habits of puppies and – something I didn't know, until now – the colour of Dalmation puppies at birth.

Red demonstrates flirtation tactics by 'shimmy' dancing, and moving her body seductively to attract the male talent, being Quid, Fenton or Bruno, who she lost her innocence to, falling for a 'working' dog as opposed to a 'house' dog.

By putting black-and-white caps on, Red and Twink transition into males of the species, known as diesel dogs and referred to as Jack and Russell. They speak graphically and candidly about the bitches being on heat and smelling like "Geese farts on a muggy day" or "Sheep's afterbirth on the radiator".

Fenton, a rapper, is played by Amelia Guild. She moves in a gangsta way and sings in an Eminem-style that has the crowd cheering and applauding.

James Clive Reginald Montgomery Smith, performed by Emma Newborn, is a more sophisticated and mature dog, with an eye-patch and slumped body movements, slurring and dribbling as he speaks.

All the differing personalities of the bitches and dogs in the six transitions involve have something entertaining to offer. At times it is difficult to hear everything being said, as there is an overload of text. But both Amelia Guild and Emma Newborn are extremely talented in their bitch/dog performances.

The Bitches' Box offers the a unique experience of seeing humans scratch their bottoms on fences, lick each other's faces, coat themselves in (imaginary) faecal matter, roll around the floor and parade around in doggie-style. 
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.

See also reviews by:
 Matt Baker (Theatre Scenes - Auckland Theatre Blog);
 Robbie Nicol
 Jan Maree
 Jaimee Jennings


Matt Baker posted 25 Feb 2013, 09:44 AM

Amelia Guild played 'Twink', not 'Twig'.

James Clive Regional Montgomery Smith was actually James Clive REGINALD Montgomery Smith.

Fenton's rapping was not in the style of Enimen.

Editor posted 25 Feb 2013, 12:50 PM

Thank you Matt - names duly corrected.