In Mutts: The Dog’s Tale, Western Australian playwright, Johnny Grim, tells the stories of nine unwanted dogs who find themselves in an animal welfare refuge.
Playing the alpha male, Titan, in Moore Books SA/Holden Street Theatres current production of Mutts, I was very interested to know what made Grim write a play about dogs.
When asked, Grim replied “The idea for Mutts was triggered by a visit with my 7 year old son Dylan, to a local pound. Sure enough, the first dogs we met were the, shall we say, more ‘mature’ dogs. Of course, as much as Dylan fell for all of the dogs we met, like the majority of children he couldn’t wait to check out the pups.
“Thus we enquired as to where the puppies were located. The attendant pointed us to an area ‘out-back’, where the pups were held. As we waved goodbye to the older dogs, I swear that one or two wore sad expressions suggesting they knew exactly where we were heading. That look, and hearing from the attendant that those dogs who didn’t find a home, would in a lot of cases, be humanely put down struck a chord in me”.
He went on to say “It occurred to me that each of the mature dogs had at some point been offered a ‘home’ and for different reasons had that home taken away from them. Thus the seed for Mutts was well and truly planted.”
Grim states that in writing the play, he hopes the underlying message to the audience is “that buying that cute little puppy for Christmas, may have seemed like a really neat idea up until the time that puppy grew rapidly, to become the bored teenager that you so often wished you could eject from the house. Through the play, I dare to suggest that inviting a dog into the family should involve some soul-searching prior to offering the invite. The additional message is that giving a home to a ‘pre-loved’ dog can ultimately be more rewarding for all concerned.”
This is only the second time Mutts has been performed. This is its Adelaide premiere, but it had its world premiere in Western Australia last year. Johnny Grim is highly delighted with Adelaide’s reception of his play and this production. It has received great reviews and critical success, with Stage Whispers’ Benjamin Orchard even stating that the play should be produced more often.
Two years ago, Moore Books SA (Grim’s South Australian publisher) and Holden Street Theatres held the world premiere of Grim’s critically acclaimed Tainted Love. Mutts is the second time he has been involved with director Tony Moore (Grim’s worldwide rights holder/agent) and two of the actors from that previous show, Joanna Webb and Maxine Grubel. Because of this, Johnny can’t wait to fly over to witness the last two nights of this current season of Mutts. Ever grateful and humble, he states “I’m very much looking forward to having the opportunity to meet and thank the entire cast and crew, and to once again visit the beautiful city of Adelaide”.
Mutts has its last four performances this week: Wed 1st July; Thurs 2nd July; Fri 3rd July; and Sat 4th July at 8pm Holden Street Theatres. Ticket prices are: $18 Group Booking; $20 Concession: $25 and can be booked either by phoning the Holden Street Theatres Box Office 8223 1450 or visiting www.holdenstreettheatres.com/mutts
Interview by Brian Godfrey
Disclaimer: Brian Godfrey is the Arts Editor for Glam Adelaide