Dog DLA Afternoon, Baby Grand, GOH, Belfast, October 22nd, Theatre Review

By Conor O’Neill

As a Lisburnurnian – hack spit – I should be offended by Stephen G Large’s latest theatrical offering. Far from it. I laughed till sides split and throat was sore. Apparently, Lisburn annexed Dundonald in 2015. I can’t remember playing a part of this, nor have benefitted from it but seem guilty by place of birth only.

Thankfully, as with all things Northern Irish, liberators are at hand… and willing to go the whole nine yards to free Dundonald and possibly get a mural into the bargain.

Dog DLA Afternoon Promo

Davy ‘The Venezuelan’ Taylor has a touch of Jim Gray about him, what with the V-neck pink sweater draped over his shoulders and wideboy self-image of himself. Actor Mathew McElhinney shouts and roars his way through the hour and a half performance and has more secrets, with wider consequences in his macho world that’d send shockwaves through the loyalist wing of prison.

Davy and his somewhat simple yet more straight to the point co-liberator, John ‘Crazy Horse’ McCracken (Matthew Forsythe) hit a bank. A food bank. Large’s love of the big screen is stamped firmly from the start. Only a few seconds in and the theme tune of Pulp Fiction screams through the speakers and like greyhounds with curry powder rubbed round our collective arse, we are off.

Dog DLA 2 stapped.jpg

Of course, these boys are from Dundonald, Lisburn paras wouldn’t have made such a glorious fuck up of a heist. Would they? Sadie is doing her own volunteering, giving out grub to the needy, Antoinette Morelli’s Sadie is a joy to watch; at once a motherly tone, the next a look that’d curdle milk. Skimmed milk.

Her heavily preggers niece, Kelly (Karen Hawthorne) is out the back doing the books. Coming out facing two shooters is not what the midwife ordered, that home water-bath delivery is on hold, as is the food bank. John surrounded by high calorie goods has forgotten his insulin.

The world’s press is at hand, Trump is on the line and the PSNI is negotiating: Lucozade and a multi-pack of Bounties seem an unlikely ask but with John on the brink of diabetic coma, demands have dropped down.

Yes, Dundonald needs its democratic right and self-governance, but for the love of Christ/Allah/Yahweh/Buddha/Richard Dawkins or any other faith or lack of it can some one solve the annexation?

Dog DLA 5.jpg

Officer Goodfellow can be heard through loudspeaker. Davy takes command with negotiations. Remember not all crystal is from Tyrone or Waterford.

The pace is unrelenting. Director Tony Devlin of Brassneck delivers Large.

Wanna see a class play. Go see this.

Keeping with the foodbank theme there’s a trolley just outside the Baby Grand’s door. Please bring non-perishables and donate to those with a hungry tummy.

Dog DLA tinned food.jpg

Dog DLA Afternoon runs until and including November 2nd with two shows on the Fridays and Saturdays. For booking info visit or call the box office on 02890 241919

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s