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Three Dead Dogs; a puplifting tail of friendship

When a person dies in a film, we shrug it off: people are expendable. But when Bambi’s mum gets shot, a horse falls in Game of Thrones or Mufasa is thrown off a cliff: when something furry and innocent loses its life, the water works start running - we care.

Horse With No Name’s latest work Three Dead Dogs has got bark, bite and delight. It is a play about animal friendship and connection, which paws at the heartstrings. It is a celebration of the beautiful but brief life that our furry friends lead, exploring the comedy of their unique characters.

Death can be odd. It can be sudden, drawn out or caused by a falling piano. At some point we all face it, and so do our pets. While they are just a part of our prance along the mortal coil, we are their entire coil. Yet we don’t give our pawed playmates enough validity as they pop their clogs; “you can get bereavement leave for your Uncle Steve, but not for Lucky the golden retriever”. This show validates the bonds we form with our canine companions and the grief that can be experienced with their passing.

The idea for this show came from Benny Tipene, the brother of Cat (one half of Horse With No Name). One night, Benny was swapping stories with New Zealand comedian Jeremy Elwood. Benny has a fantastic tale of a dead dog involving a suitcase and a train, which he told to Jeremy. Jeremy turned to him and said “mate, have I got a story for you!”. Benny approached his sister and demanded the stories be a stage show spectacular.

However, two stories wouldn't cut it - it needed to be three dead dogs. Cat and (other half of Horse With No Name) Ryan Cundy, searched all over Wellington for another wacky carked it canine tale. They searched in vain. Eventually they came to the realisation that it would have to come from them - pooling their collective puppy memories Cat and Ryan created the final part of Three Dead Dogs out of their own pet experiences.

They called up the pack and set to work creating this endearing play with Director Kenneth Gaffney. The scripts were scratched, the music patted out on guitar, the set gifted licks of paint, and costume tails were set wagging by the talented crew. Benny popped back in to write songs to accompany the stories. And so a show was born.

Horse With No Name is an up-and-coming theatre company, eager to get its paws on the BATS Theatre stage. As part of its kaupapa, Horse With No Name will donate a portion of profits to a relevant charity. For this pawformance, they are proud to be backing the fantastic folk at Assistance Dogs New Zealand Trust, who work to train dogs for unique assistance purposes for people living with disability.

Come along, share in their stories, and have fun supporting a young company and a great charity!

The show runs from the 8th - 11th of March, performing at 8.30pm at BATS Theatre, 1 Kent Terrace. Full price is $20, Concession $15 and Fringe Addict $14.

To attend this ball of an evening, head over to to book online, or call (04) 802 4175 to secure your ticket!

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