Dogfight – Put to The Acid Test
When someone asked me if I wanted to review some dogging I nearly missed a step, spat out my coffee, choked AND fell over. It’s not normally the case that you get to see such public displays of … how shall we call it… ‘affection’. Yet we are an interesting folk here in the West of England… it’s not all that surprising they might be selling tickets. However, my fears were allayed when it was pointed out that in fact it was a musical, and it was called Dogfight.
Dogfight – When and where.
We had the pleasure of seeing Dogfight in the Rondo Theatre in Bath. While not down in the centre of the city, this theatre still gives the fan of Amateur Dramatics plenty of opportunity to get lost in small, winding roads, looking for parking spaces in the oddest of places. It’s a small place, seating not more than a couple of hundred people (if that). The atmosphere is cosy and you are right in amongst the action when the play gets going. Seating is nice enough. I’m well over 6 feet tall and I had plenty of space (tip: go for Row E).
The theatre was also decorated with raised radiators……
However, a word of caution if you get the munchies and feel like going for a ‘Billy Burger’ over the road. It’s not what one might call the most sanitary of places. Judging by the state of my stomach after a Hawaiian Kangaroo Burger, I would stick to beef. If I was reviewing that joint for The Acid Test it would be an ENTIRELY different review….
Dogfight – What is it?
Boy – do the webpages like going into great and elaborate detail regarding the plot. In essence it’s a romance centered around a game played by US Marines, the aim of which is to go dancing with the ugliest girl, and win the competition after all have been judged.
In the case of this particular dogfight, the protagonist Eddie Birdlace starts to realise the effects of this game on the women involved and regret his part in the game, falling in love with his ‘date’ . That is very high level. For more information, have a look here.
Dogfight – The Cast
Eddie Birdlace – Matthew Graham
Rose Fenny – Hannah Long
Bernstein – Sam Cochrane
Boland – James Sellick
Marcy – Rachel Bosomworth
Fector – Matthew Knowles
Stevens – Pip Knowles
Gibbs / Lounge Singer – Mark Sellick
Peggy – Jane Morgan
Mama – Jessica Withers
Pete – Jason Lemoir
Directed by Alison McCausland with music directed by Lauren Davies
Dogfight – Did it pass the test?
You know, I am continually amazed by the creative way small spaces are utilised by drama productions in order to entice the suspension of disbelief in the audience. It was colourful, and the stage was well-used by the cast A few cleverly-placed props were all that was needed to turn a dance floor to stairs to a bedroom. In so close an atmosphere it is very easy to forget you are looking at the portrayal of characters by people, some of whom you may already know from elsewhere.
This cast, in my opinion, did an awesome job of bringing Dogfight to life. I laughed, I got caught up in the story, I enjoyed the songs. Where the occasional word was missed from the dialogue, I was a lot more forgiving because of this. Going in to Dogfight with reservations (I thought the premise for the story was quite frankly, mean), it was lovely to see that I was able to find so many positives to dispel those reservations. In essence I came out of the play feeling a lot better about life.
The main characters were played very well by Matthew Graham and Hannah Long, the growing relationship between Eddie and Rose very believable. I very much enjoyed the relationship between ‘The three bees’ – Birdlace, Bernstein and Boland. James Sellick was a formidable presence as Boland, bossing most of the scenes until he met his match in hooker ‘Marcy’, played with needle-sharp comic timing by Rachel Bosomworth.
I also very much enjoyed the relentless enthusiasm and blissful innocence of Sam Cochrane’s Buddy Holly-esque (and VERY shiny-teethed) Bernstein, as well as the very straight-faced waiter played by Jason Lemoir. I could go on about every single member of the cast as well. It was a very well put-together production that had me entranced from start to finish, believing in the characters. Well done all. Your Dogfight was great. Acid Test passed.
Dogfight – Any Other Business…
I have two points to pick up on that really have nothing to do with the production that merit note.
- Pokemon Go! The cast were ADDICTED. The audience were RIVETED when they weren’t lapping up the visual feast in front of them. pickings are very good if you are after electric/metal types such as voltorb or electobuzz.
- I witnessed a conversation during half time between two drama students (one a future mega-hipster) where the hipster-in-waiting was bestowing his great knowledge and experience (he was maybe 18 or 19 at the most) about how you only need to work hard enough to scrape in to university on the grades you need, NOT work hard to get the most out of your schooling. What utter bilge. The conviction with which the greatest of future bohemians was delivering his worldly view was really dismaying. Work hard, kids. Work your asses off. Never settle for ‘just’.