Music and Lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
Book by Peter Duchan
Based on the Warner Bros film and screenplay by Bob Comfort
77-85 Newington Causeway
London SE1 6BD
7.30pm, Sat mat 3.00pm
Runs: 2hrs incl internal, to 13 09 14
TICKETS: Box Office: 020 7407 0234
Review: by Carole Woddis of performance seen Aug 13, 2014:
Another Southwark delight.
Southwark Playhouse have built an enviable reputation for their musicals. And in this British premiere, once again produced by Danielle Tarento, producer of the multi-award winning `Titanic’ musical, you can see why.
Based on the 1991 film with River Phoenix and Lili Taylor and with music and lyrics by the new wunderkinds of American musical theatre, Ben Pasek and Justin Paul, Dogfight is endearing, joyful and critical by turns.
It is November, 1963, San Francisco, the night before three young marines are due to deploy in Vietnam. To `celebrate’ their last night, they are about to go out on the town in usual boys’ fashion but to also indulge in a bet as to the ugliest girl they can bring with them.
Cruel in the extreme, Dogfight nonetheless refreshingly can boast a female cast who look like normal, everyday people which gives a fantastic sense of realism and poignancy to a show that starts by apparently indulging military machismo but then proceeds to subtly subvert it.
Pasek and Paul have a happy knack of combining brio with delicacy. Hailed as `heirs to Rogers and Hammerstein’, their style seems to have much more in common with Stephen Sondheim. Songs like `Come to a Party – sung by the young corporal, Eddie Birdlace to Rose, the waitress he’s just picked up at the coffee counter – and Rose’s response, `Nothing Short of Wonderful’, are pure echoes of Sondheim in their spoken and staccato note shifts.
In some senses, Dogfight, follows the conventional form of boys meets girl, boy gets girl. But Peter Duchan’s book also contains surprising twists. After all, Eddie’s brash mates Boland and Bernstein (with Birdlace, they are tattooed with the `three Bs’) are destined for a harsh, and in director Matt Ryan’s tumultuous climax, brutal encounter with war’s reality.
There are some delightful touches, reminiscent of West Side Story in Eddie and Rose’s tender discovery of each other, only marred by the sentimentality of the show’s final moments.
But with its dynamic dance ensembles and inspired lead performances from Jamie Muscato’s appealing Eddie and Laura Jane Matthewson’s genuinely modest Rose, this is a musical beautifully poised between youth and maturity.
Eddie Birdlace: Jamie Muscato
Rose Fenney: Laura Jane Matthewson
Bernstein: Nicholas Corre
Boland: Cellen Chugg Jones
Marcy: Rebecca Trehearn
Fector: Samuel J Weir
Stevens: Joshua Dowen
Gibbs: Cíaran Joyce
Mama: Amanda Minihan
Ruth Two Bears: Emily Olive Boyd
Lounge Singer/Big Tony/Pete/Waiter: Matthew Cutts
All other parts played by the company
MD/Keys: George Dyer
Violin: Charlie Cole
`Cello: Stefan Knapik
Guitars: Matt Helm
Bass: AJ Brinkman
Drums: Gareth Dylan Smith
Director Matt Ryan
Choreographer Lucie Pankhurst
Musical Director George Dyer
Set and Costume Designer Lee Newby
Lighting Designer Howard Hudson
Sound Designer Andrew Johnson
Sound/Accent Coach: Simon Money
Producer and Casting Director Danielle Tarento
Presented by arrangement with Josef Weinberger Limited on behalf of Music Theatre International of New York
British premiere of Dogfight at the Southwark Playhouse, London, Aug 8, 2014
For more info, see www.southwarkplayhouse.co.uk