REVIEW: The Boyfriend,
By Stephen Grigg SHEFFIELD STAR
It’s impossible not to like Sandy Wilson’s feel-good comedy musical.
In the capable hands of director Mary Newey, Woodseats Musical Theatre Co put on a good show and seem to be thoroughly enjoying the process.
We know we are in for a treat as the five- piece band strikes up
that distinctive jazzy 1920’s period music and the girls do the typical
musical hall dance moves with arms straight down and bended knees to the title song.
The rich English school girls led by the irrepressible Maisie, a wonderful Danielle Smith, spend much of the time giggling and indulging in high jinks whilst giving the local Nice French boys the runaround.
Part of the fun of the play is that there are no less than seven romances running simultaneously although Lord Brockhurst’s roving eye stretches beyond poor Lady Brockhurst.
The sweet central love affair is between popular schoolgirl Polly Browne played by Kate Mitchell and lowly messenger Tony Brockhurst played by Adam Walker. Despite Mitchell’s beautiful singing voice and Walker’s ripping cheeky boyish grin, their romance seems to falter.
The acting, singing, dancing, costumes and set are all first class, making it a success for the whole company.
Finally, just as I thought I was being clever comparing the French accents of Adele Beckett as Hortense and a terrific Marilyn Barker as Madame Dubonnet to the cast of ‘Allo ‘Allo!, I find the joke is on me as Hortense utters Michelle’s immortal line, “Listen carefully, I shall say this only once”. Great stuff.
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When you see an audience singing and clapping along to the songs or tapping their feet to the tunes, it makes you wonder why The Boy Friend isn’t more popular with musical theatre companies.
Perhaps it’s the difficulty of finding enough bright young things to play schoolgirls and their beaus or young men who want to learn to dance the Charleston or tango.
No such problems for Woodseats Musical Theatre Company who mark their return to full-length musicals after seven years with a spectacular production of Sandy Wilson’s lively creation.
As sparkling as the Mediterranean sea and as colourful as the brightly decorated buildings in Nice, this show brings the fun of the French Rivera to Dronfield.
Costumes which wouldn’t look out of place on the professional stage light up the town’s Civic Hall in a Twenties’ fashion parade of drop-waisted dresses, brightly coloured bathing costumes and glittery trouser suits.
Giggling young ladies at a finishing school charm the audience, a rekindled love affair between old flames tugs the heart-strings and a French maid serves up great comedy.
Kate Mitchell and Adam Walker are well matched as the shy schoolgirl Polly Browne and the aristocrat in disguise Tony Brockhurst. Kate’s singing is as sweet as she looks and Adam makes a first-rate job of singing and dancing.
Danielle Smith gives an unmissable performance as the lively, flirty schoolgirl Maisie, ably supposed by Sam Guest playing American suitor Bobby Van Heusen. Their dancing is divine in Won’t You Charleston With Me?, which is one of the highlights of the show.
The aah-factor is provided by Marilyn Barker and Mike Richardson playing the old flames Madame Dubonnet and Percival Brown.
And comedy is in the very capable hands of Adele Beckett, playing French maid Hortense, whose immortal line “Listen very carefully, I will say this only once,” surely can’t have been in the original script. The Boy Friend is directed by Mary Newey .