SOME men grapple with their midlife crisis by falling in love with a 20 year old. Instead, Greg brings home Sylvia the dog.
He quickly becomes enamoured with the dog, but his wife Kate is less than happy, and their marriage, already in strife, is put under more pressure.
The strained relationship is the topic of a new play by the Encore Theatre.
Directed by theatre stalwart Peter Newling, Sylvia is a comedy about relationships between husbands and wives, husbands and dogs and midlife crises.
The casting is just as interesting as the storyline. The chemistry between Greg and Kate can't be described as anything less than authentic, because the characters are being played by Ron Kofler and Vicki Smith - a real-life couple.
Shane Ryan plays three characters: a fellow dog owner, university friend Phyllis and a marriage counsellor.
Sylvia is played by actor Melissa New, who
not only barks but also makes observations about Greg and Kate to the audience.
"We're always reminded that she is a dog but she's got those characteristics of that 20 year old who he could have otherwise fallen for," Newling says.
"You've constantly got this 'is she the young girl or is she a dog' thing happening all the way through it."
Despite the complexity of the characters, the message from playwright AR Gurney is straightforward.
"You've got to keep working on relationships," says Newling. "You can't just assume it's always going to be there."
Sylvia opens at the Clayton Community Centre Theatrette, Cooke Street, Clayton at 8pm on Friday, July 13. There are matinee performances on July 15 and 22 and other performances on July 14, 20-21 and 26-28. Cost: $20, concessions available. The play contains strong language and is only suitable for adults. Bookings: 1300739099.