This production of A Night at the Dogs by Matt Charman was performed at Londons Soho Theatre 8 April - 14 May 2005.
Three workmates from a crash repair shop - Carl, Lionel and Chalky - await the arrival of Rick in Carl’s sparsely furnished East London flat.
Rick, the fourth member of their newly-formed syndicate, is bringing the greyhound that they hope will deliver riches as well as a guaranteed good night out at the track.
Also present is Carl’s brighter brother Danny (Joe Armstrong exuding world-weary loyalty) who is prevailed upon to stay. But Rick is not the next to arrive. Carl has been showing off about the syndicate and, unbeknown to the others, has invited the group’s line manager Paul (nicknamed Punchy) to join.
The moment Paul, a strapping David Hounslow, enters, so does a whiff of menace. Charman is very good on male status games.
Know-all Carl (Neil Stuke) is desperate to please the aggressive Paul. While putting on a bit of a swagger as host, he constantly defers to the hard man, but, Danny realises, needs fraternal support.
Stuke does well to capture the mixture of cod-authority, anxiety and latent self-knowledge in cowardly Carl; his body language speaks volumes when he answers the intercom on Paul’s arrival. When things take a nasty turn Carl’s respect for Paul is undiminished: after all the man has married an air hostess, gets free air miles and a has a games room extension...- Heather Neill, WhatsOnStage.com
Author: Matt Charman; Directed by: Abigail Morris; Cast: Joe Armstrong, Trevor Cooper, Mark Hadfield, David Hounslow, Neil Stuke; A Soho Theatre Company Production