Dog’s loyalty reasonatesSt John Cowcher, of Bayswater, in the Spare Parts production of Hachiko. Picture: Martin Kennealey d417353

St John Cowcher (Bayswater)
St John Cowcher (Bayswater)

THE poetic beauty surrounding the true Japanese story about a dog’s loyalty to his master immediately struck a chord when Spare Parts Puppet Theatre artistic director Philip Mitchell first heard the tale.

Hachiko, an akita, waited for his owner’s return at a Tokyo train station every day for nine years after Professor Ueno had passed away.

‘I saw a film of it with Richard Gere and was appalled at the way they had Americanised it,’ Mitchell said.

‘So we’ve deliberately chosen a very Japanese aesthetic with simple storytelling that celebrates the relationship between a dog and their owner. It’s a Japanese version of Red Dog.’

Featuring origami-inspired papercraft puppetry by designer Matt McVeigh, the 50-minute family production starring performers Jessica Harlond-Kenny and St John Cowcher is suitable for ages five years and older.

‘Because there are themes of death in the work, we did a lot of research before we created the show and a lot of child psychologists talk about the importance of discussing death with your children,’ Mitchell said.

‘Often parents find it hard to talk about it but if we can create a show where they can share these experiences in the same space, then the kids can ask questions. ‘