Lovers vs. Fighters

​Review of Dogfight at ArtsWest by Tigerlily Cooley


Dogfight is the quintessential story of lovers versus fighters.

Set in San Francisco in 1963, a group of macho marines decide to celebrate their last evening by holding a dogfight — a long-standing tradition in which men compete for money to recruit the ugliest date for a party. The plan is set off course, however, when one of the girls, an awkward waitress named Rose Fenny (Devon Busswood), discovers she’s been tricked into being part of the cruel tradition and gets revenge by teaching her date, Eddie Birdlace (Kody Bringman), a lesson in compassion.

The intimate setting of the theater truly transports the audience seamlessly from scene to scene — from the 1960s dinner to the San Francisco Bay, down to the lush jungles of Vietnam. I’ll admit I jumped when the bombs began going off, and I caught myself tearing up when Rose did.

Musically, I found Dogfight to be captivating, which came as no surprise considering it won critical acclaim in New York and received the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical in 2013. The layered harmonies are extremely impressive, and the duets between Rose and Eddie are heartbreakingly beautiful. It's also very cool to be able to see the live band playing, a creative feature of the ArtsWest stage.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend going to see Dogfight, a bittersweet love story with a nasty twist. Dogfight manages to be funny, heartbreaking, sweet, and thought-provoking all at the same time.

October 23 - November 22

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