The Internet Theater Magazine of Reviews, Features, Annotated Listings








Etcetera and
Short Term Listings


NYC Restaurants


New Jersey







Free Updates
Writing for Us
A CurtainUp London London Review

"I'm going to have the fucking poached salmon with the son-of-a-bitching rice, and a dirty bastard salad with a shitload of Roquefort dressing." — Rose
Centre Jamie Muscato as Eddie (Photo: Darren Bell)
Southwark Playhouse's summer musicals are a delight with Parade, Mack and Mabel and last year's Titanic topping must-see lists when many theatre critics are in Edinburgh for the festival. This year's offering is Dogfight about a group of marines training in 1963 before leaving for Vietnam and a cruel game they play which gives the piece its title.

While the songs in the crowd scenes are sung with gusto and the confidence that comes from being one of many onstage, the lyrics were too often lost in the enthusiasm. With the audience set on three sides and the large band on the fourth but set above, there were times when the sound balance seemed wrong as singers were drowned by the instrumentals.

Laura Jane Matthewson, who you would never guess is straight out of musical training, is excellent as Rose the overweight, guitar playing waitress who is invited out by Eddie Birdlace played by Jamie Muscato. He has asked her to the Dogfight dance where unknowingly the marine with the ugliest girl gets the prize but Eddie has second thoughts, revealing a streak of decency. His pal Boland (Cellen Chugg Jones) has broken the rules by asking a prostitute Marcy (Rebecca Trehearn) to come with him and take out her teeth to compete.

The soft rock and ballads are good. The choreographed scenes of the marines in a barrack room fun dance are not quite up to the dance we saw in From Here to Eternity.The lyrics may be excellent in places but too often the words were lost by the sound issues.

Rose and Eddie never looked right as a couple to me but that may be part of the point. He is handsome to look at and she is dowdy but a much kinder person. When Eddie comes back from trauma in Vietnam, he is a changed man, saddened but nicer. The scene in the restaurant was greatly enjoyed by the audience when Rose orders a meal using the profanities that Eddie has been using. And that is after she teaches Eddie how to change the mind of a Maitre D who has been reluctant to give them a table.

The men, who are barely more than boys, look right with the required new marine "jarhead" haircuts, very short shaved back and sides with small oval rugs on the tops of their heads. When Eddie is the only one to come back from Vietnam to San Francisco he is accosted by the 1968 hippies protesting at war and we feel for him in the change of culture he is now experiencing.

There are some good minor roles. Rebecca Trehearn as Marcy and the Marilyn figure and Emily Olive Boyd as Ruth Two Bears are pleasing. Nicholas Corre is Bernstein, a marine anxious to fall in with the crowd led by Cellen Chugg Jones' obnoxious but maybe typical Boland.

Dogfight didn't for me live up to the heady heights of Parade and Titanic nor to the sheer zaniness of Spring Awakening but I should imagine performances will become more confident with time and hopefully the sound issues can be sorted.

For Simon Saltzman's review of this show in New York with a complete plot synopsis and song list go here.

Subscribe to our FREE email updates with a note from editor Elyse Sommer about additions to the website -- with main page hot links to the latest features posted at our numerous locations. To subscribe, E-mail:
put SUBSCRIBE CURTAINUP EMAIL UPDATE in the subject line and your full name and email address in the body of the message -- if you can spare a minute, tell us how you came to CurtainUp and from what part of the country.
Book by Peter Duchan
Music and Lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
Directed by Andrew Keates

Starring: Cellen Chugg Jones, Nicholas Corre, Laura Jane Matthewson, Jamie Muscato, Rebecca Trehearn
With: Samuel J Weir, Joshua Dowen, Ciaran Joyce, Amanda Minihan, Emily Olive Boyd, Matthew Cutts
Band: George Dyer, Charlie Cole, Stefan Knapik, Matt Helm, AJ Brinkman, Gareth Dylan Smith
Design: Lee Newby
Lighting: Howard Hudson
Choreographer: Lucie Pankhurst
Musical Director: George Dyer
Sound Design: Andrew Johnson
Running time: Two hours 10 minutes with an interval
Box Office: 020 7407 0234
Booking to 13th September 2014
Reviewed by Lizzie Loveridge based on 14th August 2014 performance at Southwark Playhouse, 77-85 Newington Causeway, London SE1 6BD (Tube: Borough or the Elephant and Castle)
Highlight one of the responses below and click "copy" or"CTRL+C"
  • I agree with the review of Dogfight
  • I disagree with the review of Dogfight
  • The review made me eager to see Dogfight
Click on the address link E-mail:
Paste the highlighted text into the subject line (CTRL+ V):

Feel free to add detailed comments in the body of the email . . . also the names and emails of any friends to whom you'd like us to forward a copy of this review.

London Theatre Walks

Peter Ackroyd's  History of London: The Biography

London Sketchbook

tales from shakespeare
Retold by Tina Packer of Shakespeare & Co.
Click image to buy.
Our Review

©Copyright 2014, Elyse Sommer.
Information from this site may not be reproduced in print or online without specific permission from