Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Review - Dogfight, Southwark Playhouse


THE Southwark Playhouse is on a bit of a roll at the moment. Its recent programme of musicals and stage plays has been varied, interesting and crucially, great to watch.
Its latest offering is Dogfight, a musical by Ben J Pasek and Justin Paul, directd by Matt Ryan and produced by Danielle Tarento. And it has "hit" written all over it.
Set in San Franscisco on the eve of Kennedy's election victory, a group of young US marines spend their final night of freedom before being posted to Vietnam partying.
As part of the celebrations, they host a "dogfight", a rather unpleasant and cruel competition where they aim to bring the ugliest date to a party.
By a twist of fate, one of the marines, Eddie Birdlace, happens upon a cafe where he meets Rose, a waitress who has a passion for music.
They chat, he asks her to the party, she goes, he starts to feel uncomfortable about bringing her, she a nice time til she hears about the dogfight bet and then storms out.
It is a predictable love story of boy meets girl, gradually and unwittingly falls in love with her, they fall out, get back together and he realises the error of his angry ways.
Despite the predictable storyline there is much to recommend this production, not least the beatuiful music and the fantastic cast who are essentially a group of unknowns.
Indeed Laura Jane Matthewson makes her stage debut as Rose and was absolutely awesome. She portrayed Rose brilliantly showing her quirkiness, vulnerability and humour as well as the excitement at being asked on a date for the first time and a ballsy attitude at dealing with Eddie's complex character.
Jamie Muscato excels as Eddie, full of pumped up testosterone and out for a good time.
As well as the solid and consistently good performances from all the cast it was a beautifully staged show - passionate and energetic with moments of sadness and great humour. A winner.

Dogfight is on at the Southwark Playhouse, Newington Causeway until Saturday, September 13. Tickets from £12. Visit or call the box office on 020 7407 0234.

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