Review: Songs to My Dog at Midnight (Edinburgh Fringe, online)

A short and quirky solo musical show written and performed by Janet Cost-Chretien, Songs to My Dog at Midnight looks at a woman’s day as she recounts it in speech and song to her dog.

In Songs to my Dog at Midnight, we are not quite in cabaret territory, nor drama. There is a story here but I found it quite hard to connect to it.

Quite catty and funny in places, there is potential here to expand the show into something with more coherence and comedy, but as it stands I felt that the show was too short at under 25 minutes, and that the tone of the different scenes (often highlighted by a change of hat) did not vary enough to give the piece a true dramatic arc.

Promotional image for Songs to My Dog at Midnight

I enjoyed the song part more than the stories (which do seem relentlessly bleak), but can see there is a strong narrative here which just needs a bit of help to tease it out. For a show staged on the Laughing Horse platform, I expected a bit more of a black comic tone but that is not what the show provides.

The songs use recognisable moments from other tunes to accompany Cost-Chretien’s lyrics, which I found interesting; the dog is a stuffie which has its own charm, and this could be built on in further development of the show.

I wanted to understand the character and where she was coming from: her loneliness, her envy, her pride, her history. There are hints here of a life which has gone wrong, and a night which has come to a head, but I felt we needed just a little bit more context.

Fringe rating: ** (and a half)

You can stream Songs to My Dog at Midnight on YouTube via Laughing Horse at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. To watch the show go here.

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