Ivan And The Dogs
Ostensibly based on a true story, but actually written by Hattie Naylor as a fable of self-determination in a city of ghastly iniquities, the play shadows Ivan in his encounters with glue-sniffers, bully boys, down and outs and thuggish policemen. An urban folk tale, the text bristles with a rough doggy love, and growls with admiration for canine life. There are no fleas or scabs on these lovely beasts.
As a poetic story, it is full of vivid phrases – such as God pausing to count the dead in the silence after a shooting or other acts of violence – and it pulses with strong emotions. But it never quite manages to avoid sentimentality in its vision of a little boy in a dystopic metropolis.