Dogfight – Review

Dogfight: Southwark Playhouse, London

Reviewed 25th August 2019

★★★

Dogfight, based on the 1991 film, tells the story of three young marines on the night before their deployment to Vietnam. A tale of romance, this musical features an original score from Tony and Academy Award winning team Pasek and Paul (Dear Evan Hansen, The Greatest Showman, La La Land).

The British Theatre Academy always produce a great summer of theatre and this is no exception. Whilst the plot may be slow at times and very predictable, the production overall is well directed and performed. The Little’s space is well used and the set, designed by Dean Johnson and Andrew Exeter is well produced. Lighting by Andrew Exeter is brilliant and really captures the action and heart of the show. A warning should be said, however, that the strobe lighting is quite strong so those affected by strobe may find that particular scene quite taxing. The clever use of lighting also helps transition between locations and the atmosphere of the scene.

The cast, led by Claire Keenan and Stephen Lewis-Johnston, work hard throughout the one act show and the marines in particular have some physically tough sections. Claire Keenan plays a geeky-yet-confident Rose brilliantly and comes into her own during the moving song ‘Pretty Funny‘. Stephen Lewis-Johnston’s Eddie is full of passion from the outset. A strong actor his final scenes are excellent and very emotional. Charlotte Coles confident performance as Marcy is very reminiscent of characters down on their luck such as Mimi from Rent, selling their soul and yet still clinging onto their dignity. Matthew Michaels and Joe Munn who play Bernstein and Boland respectively must also be commended for their characterisation throughout the show.

Unfortunately, unlike some of Pasek and Paul’s other hits, the score isn’t that memorable or catchy. The lack of mics does hamper some of the songs as some lyrics are missed. However, the songs fit the story and the cast show great characterisation and emotion during each musical number.

For fans of the film Dogfight is sure to be a hit. It is certainly a good nights entertainment and, although not overly memorable, it is full of heart with a cast who put everything into their roles.

Dogfight plays at the Southwark Playhouse until the 31st August 2019. For tickets and information click here.

The British Theatre Academy are also showing Once On This Island at the Southwark Playhouse until the 31st August 2019. To read my review click here.

Photo Credit: Eliza Wilmot

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