Musical has that Riviera touch

kate Mitchell and Adam Walker as Polly Browne and Tony Brockhurst in The Boyfriend at Dronfield
kate Mitchell and Adam Walker as Polly Browne and Tony Brockhurst in The Boyfriend at Dronfield

When you see an audience singing and clapping along to the songs or tapping their feet to the tunes, it makes you wonder why The Boy Friend isn’t more popular with musical theatre companies.
Perhaps it’s the difficulty of finding enough bright young things to play schoolgirls and their beaus or young men who want to learn to dance the Charleston or tango.

No such problems for Woodseats Musical Theatre Company who mark their return to full-length musicals after seven years with a spectacular production of Sandy Wilson’s lively creation.

The Boyfriend at Dronfield

The Boyfriend at Dronfield

As sparkling as the Mediterranean sea and as colourful as the brightly decorated buildings in Nice, this show brings the fun of the French Rivera to Dronfield.

Costumes which wouldn’t look out of place on the professional stage light up the town’s Civic Hall in a Twenties’ fashion parade of drop-waisted dresses, brightly coloured bathing costumes and glittery trouser suits.

Giggling young ladies at a finishing school charm the audience, a rekindled love affair between old flames tugs the heart-strings and a French maid serves up great comedy.

Kate Mitchell and Adam Walker are well matched as the shy schoolgirl Polly Browne and the aristocrat in disguise Tony Brockhurst. Kate’s singing is as sweet as she looks and Adam makes a first-rate job of singing and dancing.

Kate Mitchell, playing Polly Browne, and Marilyn Barker as Madame Dubonnet in The Boy Friend at Dronfield

Kate Mitchell, playing Polly Browne, and Marilyn Barker as Madame Dubonnet in The Boy Friend at Dronfield

Danielle Smith gives an unmissable performance as the lively, flirty schoolgirl Maisie, ably supposed by Sam Guest playing American suitor Bobby Van Heusen. Their dancing is divine in Won’t You Charleston With Me?, which is one of the highlights of the show.

The aah-factor is provided by Marilyn Barker and Mike Richardson playing the old flames Madame Dubonnet and Percival Brown.

And comedy is in the very capable hands of Adele Beckett, playing French maid Hortense, whose immortal line “Listen very carefully, I will say this only once,” surely can’t have been in the original script.

Technical gremlins hit the he show’s launch last night with a crackling microphone and booming feedback in the second half, but otherwise it was plain sailing.

Danielle Smith as Maisie in The Boyfriend at Dronfield Civic Hall

Danielle Smith as Maisie in The Boyfriend at Dronfield Civic Hall

The Boy Friend, directed by Mary Newey continues it run at Dronfield Civic Hall tonight (Thursday, June 21), tomorrow and Saturday at 7.30pm., with a matinee on Saturday, June 23, at 2.30pm. Evening tickets £9 and matinee tickets £8; call (01246) 290499 or 0114 2468242.

GAY BOLTON

* Photos by Alan Thompson