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Review: 'The Boy Friend' spoofs early musicals

By John Horan Jr. -- jhoran@nvdaily.com
Shenandoah Conservatory's "The Boy Friend" is an effervescent tuneful diversion with a sprightly cast, vigorous choreography and an inane story.
A spoof of sunny musicals pre-Rodgers and Hammerstein, the show takes place during the Roaring '20s and centers on a gaggle of giddy girls at a boarding school on the French Riviera whose sole concern is romance.
But Sandy Wilson's musical brims with exuberant tunes reminiscent of Rodgers and Hart and early Cole Porter, which are complemented by Alan Arnett's high-spirited dance routines.
The Shenandoah cast, directed by Jonathan Flom, is excellent although their French and English accents are sometimes muddled.
There are numerous boy friends on the scene, but "The Boy Friend" is a figment of Polly Browne's imagination -- at least until she and the delivery boy hit it off. There are, of course, complications, but a happy ending is never in doubt.
As the prim Polly, the role in which Julie Andrews made her Broadway debut, Ericka Peckhardt convincingly conveys her conflicted feelings and she sings beautifully. Ryan Green is her worthy match although his miking was too soft at times.
Kirsten Salpini warms from the haughty headmistress into a mellow lover as she reconnects with Polly's staid father, played by Benjamin JC Luczak.
Abbey Austin is the comely Maisie whose flirtatious nature rankles her steady, played by Darren Shin.
Rebecca Kaz shines in her song and dance with the randy Lord Brockhurst, played by Allen Law.
Julia Pfanstiehl is the battle-ax Lady Brockhurst and Whitney Warrenfeltz the French maid.
Wm. McConnell Bozman provides handsome sets: an airy school courtyard, a beach with three cabanas and an elaborate party scene. Kat Adams' lighting is apt.
Jennifer Flitton Adams supplies attractive costumes for the flappers and outdoes herself with the costumes at the party.
"The Boy Friend" continues at the Ohrstrom-Bryant Theatre today at 2:30 and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. The box office phone number is 665-4569.

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