Robinson Secondary School The Boy FriendBy Cappies • May 18th, 2010 • Category: Cappies
What is it that girls will giggle about, the thing they “got to have…and plot to have?” A boyfriend! From the bubbling hysterics of seventeen year old love, to the frenzied protectiveness of their parents, this comical musical brings a vibrant flare to a parody of 1920’s romance. Sandy Wilson’s The Boy Friend was first produced on Broadway in 1954 and was Julie Andrew’s first American success. With their production, Robinson Secondary School filled their stage with a flurry of excitement.
Madame Dubonnet’s finishing school in France is home to many wealthy girls who adore a typically ‘girly’ life. They idolize over their boyfriends and portray themselves as “Perfect Young Ladies.” Polly Browne (Corrie McNulty) is a rich young lady, with a millionaire father, who worries about a boyfriend only seeking her money. Her friends Maisie (Erica Heer), Dulcie (Micah Chelen), Nancy (Hanna Parsons) and Fay (Monica Bonilla) obsess over Polly’s secretive, make-believe, love affair and partake in ironically flimsy relationships of their own. Polly finally meets Tony (Ben Johnson) and they become an inseparable couple. Identities are revealed and complications arise. The musical’s light humor and frilly dressings of the roaring 1920s, lay the perfect setting for this comical pastiche on the time period’s musicals.
Fabiolla Brennecke as Hortense, the maid, maintained an entertainingly dramatic French accent throughout the show. She was consistent with her accent in her songs and characterized the flirtatious disposition of a clichéd French maid, in the best ways possible. Her bouncy hair and contagious giggle helped dramatize Brennecke’s character. Johnson’s portrayal of Tony was undeniably charming. His adorably awkward interactions with Polly made the perfect combination. McNulty was a pleasant Polly, her timid demeanor and understanding of her role was displayed well.
Madison Auch was an extremely convincing Madame Dubonnet. Her graceful hand movements and delicate walk all characterized an ideally sophisticated French lady. The carefully articulated accent remained wonderfully constant and she even rendered a promising performance of “Poor Little Pierrette.” When she walked on stage with her playful stroll and began teasing Percival Browne with her enticing “You Don’t Want to Play with Me Blues,” she displayed her undying high-energy and confidence. Heer’s intense youthfulness clearly illustrated the character of Maisie which was then portrayed in the cheeky piece “Safety In Numbers.” Heer was able to dance a quick Charleston with her partner; her speedy feet and acrobatic abilities were very impressive and continued to surprise the audience.
The costumes were all made by students. The bathing suits and uniforms all harmonized perfectly and allowed for consistency among the girls and their boyfriends’ matching colors. To highlight the key elements of the show, Paul Mayo, Sean Baird and Cody Clarke presented a wide variety of colored lighting that flashed around the stage adding new texture to the bubbling energy of the cast. The use of the set was well executed, as the cast was able to use all parts of the stage for their musical numbers, even behind the set’s windows! The skillful Robinson Orchestra warmed the atmosphere with their energetic range of pieces.
Despite some pitchy spots and awkward staging, the enthusiasm presented by the cast was admirable considering the intensity of this production. With the giggling environment and upbeat characters reminiscent of young love, Robinson’s The Boy Friend helps remind everyone that “It’s Never Too Late To Fall In Love.”
Caroline Burr of Flint Hill School.
Photos by Frank Ruth.
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