For all my scepticism about the views expressed by some characters, I decidedly think this is impressive work from a playwright to be taken seriously and it’s only very slightly too long and under-resolved.
Simon Longman’s new play, directed by Vicky Featherstone, is being presented as part of the Royal Court’s Jerwood New Playwrights programme until 10 March. Here’s what critics have had to say about it…
An interesting corrective to those soft-focus romantic images of rural equanimity, in the end, Gundog doesn’t quite come off. But, like grandad’s homily to his family, Longman too has bravely tried to capture something of the eternal and intangible: human attachment to the land.
Like many others, I have my hopes, even expectations, on the change that women may bring. But this is not for me to burden women creatives with. They already have enough of a challenge as it is just to get a break.
It’s conspicuously worthy to try to combine elements of poverty, migration, feminism, dysfunction and dementia but neither Simon Longman’s tedious time-skipping script nor Vicky Featherstone’s static direction can relieve the infectious boredom of Gundog at the Royal Court.
There is nothing about Gundog at the Royal Cout that will make you feel good about where we are today. It is a dark and disturbing tale about the state of play in modern rural Britain. That means it won’t be for everyone, but I was mesmerised.