Theater Review: ‘The Boy Friend’ — a lively, lovely romp
Sandy Wilson’s “The Boy Friend” is the latest spirited musical production to be offered by North Fork Community Theatre in Mattituck. Set in France during the Roaring Twenties, this play may be light on plot but it is strong on engaging song-and-dance numbers and laughs.
The wealthy girls at Madame Dubonnet’s Finishing School on the French Riviera all have beaus, but romance has been forbidden for Polly by her widower father, Percival. She invents a boyfriend so she can fit in with the other girls, but soon meets a real boy, and sparks fly.
Polly’s father arrives from the U.K. for a visit to check in on his lovely daughter. It turns out Madame Dubonnet is an old flame from before his marriage, and she is keen to rekindle their romance.
Does everyone end up happily with a partner? What do you think? But the ride to the obvious ending is what matters most here and, as directed by Mary Motto Kalich, it is a very entertaining and satisfying one.
Christina Stankewicz portrays the school’s maid, Hortense, with a wry sense of humor colored with the wisdom of a woman who has seen much in the ways of young love.
Aria Saltini, Victoria Carroll, Marie Werner and Raven Janoski as Polly’s spoiled rich classmates Maisie, Dulcie, Fay and Nancy, respectively, are perky, pretty and likeable. Their energy and charm, along with their terrific singing and dancing skills, win you over immediately.
Jon Troiano, Matt Tuthill and Ryan Zlatniski are equally talented, attractive and charming as the boyfriends Alphonse, Marcel and Pierre.
Patrick O’Brien portrays a jazzed-up Bobby Van Husen, Maisie’s fervent American suitor. He brings his own special energy and talents to his song and dance numbers, turning it up to 11. He and Ms. Saltini have a lovely chemistry, especially during “Won’t You Charleston With Me.”
Jan McGoey adds just the right touch of dry wit to the uptight, ever-so-proper Lady Brockhurst, and Terry Brockbank is hilarious as the lecherous Lord Brockhurst, looking for a bit of fun on the side with one of the young ladies. His number “Never Too Late” with Ms. Carroll had the audience roaring with laughter.
As Polly and Tony, the young would-be lovers, Gabrielle Comanda and Sam Notaro complement each other on all three levels — acting, singing and dancing. Each time they are on stage together, they entrance, particularly during “I Could Be Happy With You.”
Bob Kaplan employs his excellent comedic timing as the befuddled and ultimately captivated Percival, and Lauren Sisson perfectly captures the graceful, wise and regal Madame Dubonnet. It is always a pleasure to see Ms. Sisson on stage, and even more so to hear her sing.
Choreographer Kim Schafer and assistant choreographer Katrina Lovett (who also performs a slinky dance number as Lolita) kick the whole production into high gear with their creative, fun and elaborate 1920s dance numbers. And the stunning costume design by Deanna Andes and Doreen Kirby is practically a character in its own right.
Kudos to musical director William Roslak and his skilled orchestra, as well as to all the behind-the-scenes volunteers who help make the final presentation so outstanding.
Ms. Kalich has done an excellent job in her directorial debut. Along with assistant director Michael Hipp and producer Sherry Powers, she has put together a talented cast and gifted crew, guiding them into a seamless and extremely entertaining production. Once again, I find myself urging you to go see another fine NFCT production — don’t miss this one!
‘The Boy Friend’
North Fork Community Theatre
12700 Old Sound Ave., Mattituck
Performances continue Oct. 30 and 31, Nov. 1, 2, 6, 7, 8 and 9. Show times: Thursday-Saturday, 8 p.m.; Sunday, 2:30 p.m. For tickets, call 298-6328 or visit nfct.org.