The title of Mel Buttle’s new show references the reaction of some dude in a pub to her love of canines. She wasn’t always this way though, and this offering (sort of) sketches out her journey from pooch sceptic to Dog Bitch.
A regular at MICF, over the years you may have seen the “theatrically trained” Buttle in various tv spots, including co-hosting The Great Australian Bake Off. She also has varied writing credits, and a column in The Courier Mail. The acting chops were on display; Buttle slipped easily between a range of accents, from bogan tradies at home in Brisbane, to the intense “dog park captain”, to the posh lady who’s vowel sounds are soooo elongated she’s basically unable to communicate.
Unfortunately, the writing curbed my enthusiasm for the show. Many Australians will be partial to a bitza, but the mashup of parts didn’t really work here. If you were attracted by the dog theme, you might be disappointed by how we skittishly touched on often unrelated topics such as her family, partner, being gay, and the odd work story.
Buttle’s talking voice was overly amplified to the point of being uncomfortable in such a small room. When she hit her angry voice, that was very loud. This volume, coupled with a fair smattering of F and C bombs, made the performance a bit tiresome at times. I had hoped for something rather more clever from Buttle.
She did have good digs at owners of cats and small dog breeds. A decent crowd had some reasonable laughs, say at her comments on the downside of legalising same-sex marriage, and how her sexual preference might depend on her alcohol intake.
When on the canine material, Dog Bitch had good spots on rescued dogs, including a speedy greyhound and her own pig dog Ruby. Rabid dog fans will be pleased to know that the show’s title is accurate in one regard; Buttle plans to donate 5% of profits to RSPCA Victoria.
Mel Buttle – Dog Bitch
Portico Room – Melbourne Town Hall, Swanston Street, Melbourne
Performance: Friday 6 April 2018 – 8:30pm
Season continues to 22 April 2018
Information and Bookings: www.comedyfestival.com.au
Image: Mel Buttle (supplied)
Review: Jason Whyte