National Library of New Zealand
Harvested by the National Library of New Zealand on: Nov 8 2010 at 7:44:28 GMT
Search boxes and external links may not function. Having trouble viewing this page? Click here
Close Minimize Help
Wayback Machine
GayNZ Logo & Link
Monday 08 November 2010

Review: Dog Sees God - Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead

Posted in: Performance
By Jacqui Stanford - 30th September 2010


It's not often you walk out of a show thinking 'I want everyone I know to go and see this'. Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead, now showing at Auckland's Basement Theatre, is one of those rare plays that has left me raving to all and sundry.

Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead is the first work of playwright Bert V. Royal, which debuted in New York in 2004. His story looks hits the nail of what it's like figuring out you are gay as a modern teenager, bang smack on the head.

The gist of it is basically is that Charlie Brown or "CB" and his crew, are now teenagers and confronting the kinds of things parents have nightmares about their kids confronting: Van (a spin-off from Linus) is a pot head who smoked his much-loved blanket, while his sister (Lucy) is a pyromaniac who has been put in an institution for lighting a girl's hair on fire. Matt (Pig Pen) is a homophobic, sex-obsessed neat freak, while CB's sister (Sally) is a goth oddity and Tricia (Peppermint Pattie) and Marcy are just plain old not-so-smart high school bitches.

Oh and Snoopy? Well poor old Snoopy had to be put down after getting rabies and killing his lifelong buddy, that yellow bird Woodstock. Good grief!

While that could be enough fodder for any teen play, it's the scenes between the endlessly terrified Beethoven, played beautifully by Todd Emerson, and CB, brought seamlessly to life by Charlie Brown doppelganger Byron Coll, which really get under the skin.

Beethoven is mercilessly bullied because everyone has decided he is gay. He is pretty much keeps away from other students and is petrified when CB wanders into the music room, drawn by a haunting Chopin tune. Aside from violent confrontations, the pair have apparently avoided each other since they were childhood buddies, as CB became one of the bullying 'cool kids' and Beethoven became an outcast.

Suddenly something clicks in CB and he is drawn to Beethoven, leaving him exploring his sexuality and making the young musician suddenly unable to hide from his peers. Tensions and fears simmer, reach boiling point, and then spill over into tragedy.

Yet it's the sharp juxtaposition of humour and harshness in the play which really leave you reeling. It has moments which are such a mix of horror and hilarity you don't know whether to laugh or cry. It's real. It's what being a teenager is like. It's hilarious and horrific all at the same time.

Everything is intense, adults don't really exist apart from the meaningless 'waa waa waa' of droning voices. And trying to figure out who the hell you are while under intense scrutiny from your peers, well - it's bloody painful!

But the aspects of the show that make it so incredibly moving, timely and important for a gay audience are aspects which can't be reviewed without giving too much away. So just trust me on this one: go see it.

- Reviewed by Jacqui Stanford

Jacqui Stanford - 30th September 2010

   Bookmark and Share