Juliet Meyers

Juliet Meyers

Juliet Meyers: This Flipping Rescue Dog

Note: This review is from 2017

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review by Jay Richardson

Probably the only comedy show at the Fringe to include a warning about dog allergies at the top, Juliet Meyers latest hour is a double-act with Homer, an endearing and placid Portuguese Podengo Médio.

With the hound stealing sips from Meyers' water when she's not looking, loping around the venue and just generally ingratiating himself with the audience, the comic is aware that she's very much 'the Ernie Wise to his Eric Morecambe', his nascent celebrity attracting a cadre of dog lovers to boost her numbers.

This isn't merely a cutesy contrivance though, as Meyers and her rescue dog are essentially joined at the hip, with Homer's separation anxieties impacting heavily upon teh comedian’s personal and professional life, robbing her of opportunities to be spontaneous and compromising her perception of herself as a 'lone wolf'.

It's a love-hate relationship, heavily weighted in love's favour. But Meyers doesn't underplay the sacrifices she makes on Homer's behalf, reflecting on the extent to which he's a baby substitute, her self-awareness of how far to push this analogy contrasted with the ridiculous humblebrags she finds on Mumsnet.

Homer's tale, and those of some other dogs that she considered adopting, is undeniably affecting, the treatment of both he and his siblings by their former owners awakening cinematic-scope vengeance fantasies in her. The process by which he came to the comic via the dramatically named Many Tears website, is not without upsetting details either, such as the housing of unrescued dogs in explicitly named 'kill shelters'.

Further revelation to even dog owners I'd wager, is the intimate cosmetic procedure some male animals undergo for competitions such as Crufts. Meyers has a sense for the more peculiar aspects of dog ownership and generally teases the laughs out of it, while never letting you forget the responsibilities humans owe their canine companions. 

A delicious gag, about the treatment of retired greyhounds, suckers you in by evoking your sympathy, before she flips it into a cutting commentary on the relative levels of justice meted out to miscreant celebrities.

There's a bit of silliness in which she urges Homer to answer questions in the manner of Paul, the clairvoyant octopus, steering his responses with edible treats. But for the most part she simply leaves him to do his own thing, which includes stretching out dozily for lengthy periods, then spontaneously drawing focus with a simple raising of his head.

Less successful is Meyers' evocation of her own wolfish tendencies, a metaphor she stretches from the struggles of her immigrant grandfather, one Leopold Woolf, to establish himself in the UK, up to her feminism.

An otherwise pleasant-mannered audience member who once described her as a 'dog' would surely get any right-minded person's hackles rising. Part of a misogyny sequence that recalls an indignant Meyers calling in to complain about sexist daytime television, the resurgence of the comic's youthful zeal for women's rights is compelling enough. But I'm not sure if it connects insightfully to her relationship with her pet.

Still, he's an absolute charmer and she's persuasive in conveying their deep bond, making for a warm, amusing show that ought to appeal to all but the most militant cat lover. 

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Published: 13 Aug 2017



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