Outside Camden Town Tube Station 1971, brothers Mikey and Dec Carroll, newly arrived from the West of Ireland wait on the promise of a start in the building trade.
Forty years later, now estranged one of the brothers is ending his days in a hostel for homeless men whilst the other has become a wealthy building contractor.
What happened in the intervening years? And as St Patrick’s day approaches, will the documentary about Irish builders’ that contractor’s son Cian is researching throw any light on what happened?
Click here to see a short video and to hear the actors talking about the play.
A native of Galway. Recent theatre credits include League of Youth (Theatre N16), Rise (London Tour), The Cripple of Inishmaan,, A Prayer (Hen & Chickens), An Inspectors Calls (New Wimbledon Theatre), Major Barbara (Theatre Technis), Stones in His Pockets (The Gatehouse). Recent film credits include Rot, Pursued and The Light that Reflects the Shadows (National Film School).
Kevin arrived in London from Galway at the age of five and first performed on stage at nine. Since then he has had various roles in television and theatre. He played Mikey Carroll in Just above Dogs and Fleet Pete in Craic in the Crypt (Green Curtain Theatre). Kevin is also a stilt walker, fire juggler and stand-up comic.
Kieran Moriarty – Kieran Moriarty is an Irish Londoner whose family hail from Kerry. Since graduating from The Academy of Live and Recorded Arts (ALRA) in 2009 Kieran has worked on various different projects including the National tour of “One Snowy Night”. He played the part of Cian in the original performance of Just Above Dogs, Bobba the Robba in “Craic in the Crypt” (Green Curtain Theatre).
Lion and Unicorn Theatre 2016
The Colour House Theatre 2016
London Irish Centre as part of the Camden Festival July 2014
London Irish Centre 2012
What our audience thought
“What a fab night of Irish theatre – double treat with Community Service and Just above Dogs both on the bill at the London Irish Centre. Green Curtain gets to heart of the second generation Irish psyche and the often troubled lives of our forefathers, who paved the way for the community in Britain, with a deft touch. Both entertaining and emotional – Just above Dogs is a must see for the Irish of all generations.”
Fiona Audley, Irish Post, July 29, 2014.
I really enjoyed the banter/dialogue in Just Above Dogs….funny, sharp and poignant. I empathised with all the characters and as with all good plays, was sucked in to another world. A world I knew very little about and am grateful that I now do. A slice of lesser known Irish life. An appreciation of what it must have been like for countless thousands to emigrate and work the roads of Britain.
No blacks. No Irish. No dogs. This was the stark reality pinned to lodging room doors which faced economic migrants in the fifties. Irish navvies in their thousands struggled to survive in a cold, unwelcoming London, leaving the men ripe for exploitation. Often, they were even expoited by their own – with tragic consequences. Just Above Dogs is a powerful, fast paces three hander following the trials of Irish navvies who were brutalised by working practices which made individual lives totally expendable. They built much of London with blood, sweat and tears, but the Irish navy is an unsung hero, as this play makes clear.
Just Above Dogs is a beautifully crafted play. It was real and poignant. The audeince could not fail to empathsise with the Irish characters’ emotionally circumscribed lives and their physical exhaustion.
Just above Dogs touches on the exploitation of a generation of Irish Workers who came to England because they could not find work elsewhere, this generation still walk the streets and their exploitation is still evident with its long standing effect on their bodies and psyche. As with most examinations of exploitation, it is the unaware and unprepared who fall foul of the deficiencies within the law and working practices . The play also touches however on the pride and comraderies that offered mutual support to this generation of a forgotten time.