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A Street Cat Named Bob: Feline touch on recovery road

By Damon Smith

Published 11/11/2016

James (Luke Treadaway) and Bob the cat
James (Luke Treadaway) and Bob the cat

James (Luke Treadaway) sleeps rough like his friend Baz (Darren Evans) and earns a few precious coins each day by playing his guitar.

Every week he visits support worker Val (Joanne Froggatt), who oversees the methadone programme that is the first step towards defeating his heroin addiction. Val manages to secure James a flat to aid his recovery and the busker quickly makes two new friends: a free-spirited neighbour called Belle (Ruta Gedmintas), who knows only too well the devastation wrought by drugs, and a stray cat, which he christens Bob. Bob's presence at impromptu busking gigs inspires generosity from normally resistant passersby and James' confidence grows that he can turn his life around by selling copies of the Big Issue as well as performing, and rebuild bridges with his estranged father Nigel (Anthony Head).

However, Val is deeply concerned that James might be anchoring his entire recovery to an animal, who could slink away just as quickly as he arrived.

A Street Cat Named Bob offsets the adorable central relationship with sobering scenes of drug abuse. Treadaway slept rough for the role and he captures the desperation and weary resignation of a man who believes that life has turned its back on him. Bob the cat is a natural on camera and looks natty in colourful knitted scarves.

Three stars

Belfast Telegraph

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