Good Dog is an immersive peek into a neighbourhood that’s troubled by injustice and hardship, where everyone is trying to figure out what the secret to happiness really is. Our protagonist is a young wide-eyed African boy (Justin Amankwah), who figures that surely if he follows his father’s advice and does good, then only good can come his way. What we learn is that sometimes what comes our way is out of our hands.
This show is a stand out because of its captivating language and delivery. A thick London accent coats the slang and nicknames with delightful specificity and bubbliness. Amankwah throws around words in a kind of rhythmic way that helps paint the picture of his character as well as the neighbourhood vividly and with feeling. The protagonist shares the smallest and most telling details about the world and in this way, it grows from being just a one-man show into something abundant with life, with its curious characters and constant growth.
The show made me think a little more deeply and empathetically about social inequalities that have the power of bringing trouble to even the most wholesome people. People here are constantly pushing against hardship and trying to find their own slice of prosperity, often searching in unlawful and desperate places. They fight constantly amongst themselves, passing around the pain they’ve been subject to for what seems like forever. It’s pain that comes from a lack of opportunities, being outcast and left behind. When catastrophe strikes just down the road, our protagonist suddenly finds a chance to fight back with powers bigger than his neighbours and discovers a small moment of unity with who he thought were his enemies. I learned here that one on one interactions and dramas can be much more complex and rooted in issues bigger than the individual’s control.
When the show finished the audiences applaud was thunderous. We all felt a massive appreciation for what had been shared with us so bravely and dynamically. It really speaks for the power of theatre to teach empathy and give a moment of perspective through someone else’s eyes. Good Dog is powerful in a lasting way.
Continuing for another week at the Kings Cross Theatre, Good Dog is a valuable experience:
Directed by Rachel Chant With Justin Amankwah
Presented by Green Door Theatre