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David Porter » Reviews » The Boy Friend

The Boy Friend

Phoenix Opera at The Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich

Review published in the Eastern Daily Press, 8 October 2011

1954, when this comic pastiche musical was first produced, was an optimistic period, like the 1920s in which it’s set.

It’s a timely revival, as clear-cut roles, flimsy plot and light songs are an antidote to these darker contemporary times. Director Sheila Duffield has her cast work hard making the most of space and bathed in Riviera sunshine.

The romance of Polly (enchanting Rachel Goodchild) and Tony (dashing Will Arundell), is matched by the enthusiastic company of youngsters who all get engaged, led by the lively and talented Lucy Short.

There is further romance between finishing school headmistress (Pip Jenkinson) and Polly’s father (Christopher Speake), while Tony’s parents (Pat Tegerdine and Andrew Barker) add hilarity played to the hilt.

Julie Hewitt is the very gallic assistant and the Grande Tango dancing pair are outstanding.

Music is spot on, with Eric James leading a little band featuring songs which are actually well known, The Boy Friend, Safety in Numbers, Sur La Plage and I Could Be Happy With You.

Phoenix Opera, momentarily stepping from Verdi and Puccini into musical theatre offer a charming, innocent little piece that delights, amuses and warms.

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