GT Stage

Review: Dogfight at London’s Southwark Playhouse

Men in uniform. And singing. And in uniform… did we mention uniforms?

Last night saw the opening of new play Dogfight, based on the 1991 film and previous off-Broadway show of the same name. It arrived with a bang and that wasn’t just the hip thrusting!

For opening night, you’d expect nerves to be a flutter, maybe some hiccups here and there. The actors of the show were having none of it. From the opening number they had the audience gripped with a message that said, “You won’t take your eyes off us until the lights go out.” The men were also in uniform. That's a good enough reason to keep your eyes peeled, right?

Transported back in time, we’re introduced to a group of freshly appointed, cocksure marines. Barely of age to realise the severity of war looming upon them, they instead concentrate on celebrating one last night of freedom the only way they know how – with the dogfight.

Armed with nothing but their arrogance, the rules are simple. Bring back the ugliest girl and win the money.

Only, Eddie doesn’t bank on meeting Rose.

What ensues is genuine laughter touched with the tender subject of growing up. Men out of uniforms just as much as in them gave us more than one bulging view. When you think you can laugh no more, the cast deal a stunning blow and have you fighting back tears. Watching Jamie Muscato portray the coming of age for Eddie was a real impact that won’t be forgotten quickly and Laura Jane Matthewson had us reaching for the tissues. Totes emosh!

Never has a standing ovation been so deserved. This cast of young talents screamed into London’s Southwark Playhouse and delivered the kind of performance every opening night should strive for.

In fact, our only criticism of the night is that we didn't receive the same amount of winks as the girl in the front row…

GT gives this 5/5

Words Ben Henry, @NotAgainBen

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