By Laura Kressly
Some facts: Katie is 15 years old. She has a dog called Pip. When she grows up, she wants to be an animal trainer. She has an older brother called Rob, and was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when she was two years old.
Because fluctuating blood sugar levels can be difficult to stabilise, Katie trained Pip to alert her when she is at risk of having a hypo. Celebrating the ups and downs of life with Type 1 and the relationship between Katie and Pip, the show is a non-narrative explosion of human and dog interaction.
Pip is given the freedom to run around the theatre as she pleases, choosing to occupy herself with a squeaky toy that she demands the audience throw for her again and again. She’s a Very Good Dog – alert, a good listener and utterly gorgeous. Katie is joined on stage by Tin Can People’s Rob Gregson and Charlotte Berry, who often embody dogs with masks and physicality. They are dry and un-ironic in their demeanour, emphasising the seriousness of Katie’s condition. They also take having fun and dancing very seriously, with Katie often joining in.
There’s a surprising lack of information about Type 1 and living with it, but they prove there’s more to life than letting a chronic, autoimmune condition dominate it. There’s not much of a story here, just a girl and her dog, and a whole load of joyful chaos.
Katie & Pip runs through 12 August.
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