Throughout the school year, Fairfax Extra publishes occasional reviews of high school shows written by student critics under the guidance of faculty mentors as part of the Critics and Awards Program, also known as Cappies. Now in its seventh season, the program recognizes the achievements of young performers, writers, directors and stage crews. For information, visit
Dance the night away with the Madeira School's production of "The Boy Friend."
Sandy Wilson's play, in which Julie Andrews made her claim to fame as Polly Browne on Broadway in 1954, is a corny, yet lovable, spoof of musicals of the 1920s.
Set on the French Riviera, "The Boy Friend" is the story of the wealthy Polly, a student at Madame Dubonnet's Finishing School for Girls, and her dream of having a boyfriend. Polly soon meets Tony, a young man posing as a messenger boy, and it is love at first sight. But is Tony really everything that Polly has been waiting for?
Alani Kravitz lent a stunning soprano voice and a constant poise and composure onstage as Polly, a hopeless romantic, creating a lovable character who was a joy to watch. Opposite Kravitz was Greg DiMattina as Tony.
The two had good chemistry and were especially enjoyable as their relationship went from cute and awkward to warm and affectionate. That chemistry worked particularly well in numbers such as "I Could Be Happy With You" and "A Room in Bloomsbury."
Despite a few sound glitches, the cast members maintained their energy throughout. With a strong presence and consistent accent, Lorena Bears was hilarious as the witty and flirtatious Madame Dubonnet.
Sarah Glaser gave a very strong, solid performance as the boy-crazy Maisie. Caitlyn Gart as the ditzy Dulcie was able to create a very memorable, well-rounded character, despite limited stage time. With strong vocals and sharp choreography, they were especially pleasing in numbers such as Glaser's "Won't You Charleston With Me" and Gart's "It's Never Too Late to Fall in Love."
Rachel Fleming and Taylor Merriam were captivating with their sharp, expressive tango in Act Three.
The Madeira School production was delightful and well-received.
Full of feisty song and dance, the Madeira School's "The Boy Friend" had its audience almost out of their seats to join the fun.
When you are young, live on the French Riviera and know the steps to all the popular dances, there is only one thing missing -- a boyfriend. The play is set in 1926 in Nice, at Madame Dubonnet's Villa Caprice finishing school, where Polly Browne and her giggling girlfriends are on a mission to find that particular guy to take to the masquerade ball.
Although some quickly found a date, Polly, wealthy and afraid of fortune hunters, is not so lucky. When she meets the messenger boy, the real masquerade begins. With romance in the air, the girls learn there is nowhere nicer than Nice to find a dance partner.
Alani Kravitz played "poor little rich girl" Polly with the worry and excitement of any girl in love for the first time. Her facial expressions portrayed the sweet, romantic nature of her character, and her voice was captivating. Kravitz and Greg DiMattina, as Tony, shared great chemistry. Each kiss looked as if they were truly falling in love.
Jenny Walton delighted the audience from the moment the curtain opened, delivering a high-energy, on-the-mark performance as a saucy maid. She maintained her accent with ease throughout the show, particularly in her featured song, "It's Nicer in Nice."
Other standout performers included Lorena Bears as a charming Madame Dubonnet, who effortlessly captured the hearts of the audience through her expressions, movement and accent. She and Olivia May (as Percival Browne) matched each other well and reflected an elegant, playful couple.
Sarah Glaser brought irresistible charm and elegance to the role of Maisie, completing a solid twosome with Rachel Fleming as Bobby.
Although there were several moments when the microphones were bumped and whispers from backstage were audible, these trifles were forgotten as the show progressed. The cast worked well as an ensemble, enlivening the corny quips, memorable characters and catchy dance steps characteristic of the 1920s.
Madeira's cast members seemed to enjoy themselves, and that translated into a highly enjoyable presentation.