Combine the talents of Rick Elice, who co-wrote the blockbuster Jersey Boys and the much-heralded Peter and the Starcatcher, and composer/lyricist Michael Patrick Walker (Altar Boyz), and you have the makings of a hit musical. Well, the Old Globe has the makings of a hit musical in Elice and Walker’s new work Dog and Pony, now playing on the intimate Sheryl and Harvey White stage. But it’s really the rom-com (romantic comedy) story of screenwriting partners Mags (Nicole Parker) and Andy (Jon Patrick Walker) that propels this consistently hilarious show. With all due respect to Michael Patrick Walker, his songs don’t add much to the proceedings. Dog and Pony, directed by Roger Rees and sent soaring by supporting turns by Heidi Blickenstaff, Beth Leaval and Eric William Morris, would zing even without music. Mags’ and Andy’s airline seating improvisation, for one, and Mags’ puppy-transporting car trip, for another, are howling good fun. Parker is the real deal, a striking physical comedian who makes the most out of every inch of the little theater in the round. The complicated relationship between Mags and Andy is neither predictable nor coy, and you wish them well even when you suspect all will not be in the end.
David L. Coddon is theater critic for San Diego CityBeat