The ‘20’s roar back to Flint Hill School’s sparkling, joyful production of ’The Boy Friend’


Keeley Mclaugin and John Osborn (Y. Gindin)
June 3, 2013

All reviews are written by Cappies student critics and edited by Cappies adult mentors prior to publishing.

Katherine Paterson, a student at Walt Whitman High School , reviews ‘The Boy Friend’ performed by Flint Hill School as a part of the Cappies Critics and Awards Program.

Beach balls, young love, and well-dressed aristocrats have all found a home in Flint Hill High School's production of The Boy Friend.

The Boy Friend, with book, music and lyrics written by Sandy Wilson, was once the third-longest running musical in Broadway history. It starred the notorious Julie Andrews in her debut on the American stage. This musical, a spoof of classic 1920s musical comedies, is set on the French Riviera during the Roaring Twenties. Madame Dubonnet's Finishing School is a prominent setting of the show, where young Polly, the daughter of a millionaire, falls in love with Tony, a delivery boy. However, Tony has a well-guarded secret; he is not a poor messenger, rather he is the son of the wealthy Lord Brockhurst. The ensuing confusion  places the relationship of the young lovers in jeopardy.

Tony, the strapping son of Lord Brockhurst who seeks the love of Polly Browne, was played by John Osborn. Osborn's commitment to realism was impeccable; even when his mic-pack fell off, Osborn never dropped character. His great voice made numbers such as "I Could Be Happy With You" and "A Room In Bloomsbury" very enjoyable. The chemistry between Osborn and his female counterpart Keeley McLaughlin was undeniable, and made their relationship endearing and believable.

McLaughlin in the role of Polly was another bright spot in the show. Her beautiful soprano voice was precise and blended well with that of Osborne. McLaughlin's mannerisms were perfect for the young, enamored Polly. Her smile lit up the stage.

Madame Dubonnet (Sophia Carbonell) is the headmistress of Polly's finishing school. Carbonell played the role of headmistress well, contrasting her authoritative side as a headmistress with her playful side as the long-lost lover of Adam Cleland in the role of Percival Browne. Her flirtatiousness was sparked their duet "The You-Don't-Want-To-Play-Wit-Me-Blues."  Carbonell was also responsible for the period make-up which enhanced the characters. In addition, Adam Cleland's aristocratic caricature contributed to the lighthearted tone of the show.

Grace Cleland, as Maisie, and the boy friends that waited on her hand and foot, were very fun to watch. Cleland brought a lot of energy to her flirtatious character, and her consistent playful gestures and coquettish smile enhanced her portrayal.

The tango dancers Charlotte Sadar and Colbey Davies were phenomenal. While Davies portrayed the caricature of the tango dancer well, complete with a drawn on Salvador Dali-esque mustache, Sadar kept a coy expression throughout the dance. In the "Carnival Tango," while their contrast in character was humorous, Sadar's aptitude as a dancer was showcased with a variety of lifts, splits, and turns that she executed with ease.

Overall, the European accents in the show were very consistent. Although some accents were dropped when certain actors sang, it did not detract from the performance. The contrast between the French and British accents was noticeable and the over-the-top accents of some actors fit the caricature well.

Despite some inconsistencies in projection and uneven ensemble dancing, the cast of Flint Hill High School's production of The Boy Friend put on an entertaining spoof of the 1920s musical comedy, capturing the hearts of the audience.

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