The Boy Friend at Point Park Conservatory | Theater | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

The Boy Friend at Point Park Conservatory

Even as musicals go, The Boy Friend is light fare

While I certainly enjoyed Point Park's Conservatory Theatre production of Sandy Wilson's The Boy Friend, and the excessively talented cast, I'd suggest a warning on the poster: "For Musical-Comedy Fans Only."

The work was written in 1954 as an homage to musicals from the 1920s, and I salute Wilson's saluting Rodgers & Hart, Porter, Kern, etc. But I'll also say that '20s musicals aren't exactly known for the, um, depth of their dramaturgy.

The Boy Friend takes that and runs with it. Set in a French finishing school, the show asks us to follow Polly Browne: She's rich but she's sad, too, because her father won't allow her to date. Would you be surprised to hear that she falls in love with a penniless delivery boy? Would you be surprised to learn he's only pretending to be poor? Would it shock you when Daddy's heart is melted by love?

Maybe the question should be: "Would you care?" I think I speak for most when I say no. What do I care about, however, is this energetic, entertaining production, directed with enormous vigor by Jack Allison and choreographed with eye-popping pizzazz by Eileen Grace.

True, Wilson's songs are largely forgettable. But by the time Allison, Grace and company finish working their magic, you couldn't be more charmed.

click to enlarge Kristin Serafini and Michael J. Brown in The Boy Friend
Photo courtesy of Jeff Swensen
Kristin Serafini and Michael J. Brown frolic in Point Park Conservatory's The Boy Friend

Kristin Serafini and Michael J. Brown are fresh and fun as the leading lovebirds, and all the featured actors do outstanding jobs. But this production shines because of the great work of the ensemble, and I must mention that Dorsey Ziller, as the soubrette Maisie, and Matt Augustyniak, as her hapless suitor, have a number titled "Won't You Charleston With Me?" that blows the roof off the joint.

My sole complaint is that someone thought: "Wouldn't it be fun to add two textually unsupported characters — dancers dressed like Pierrot and Pierrette — to emphasize the already screamingly obvious emotional beats from the side of the stage via the miracle of mime?" I'd answer yes, but only if you changed the word "fun" to "mind-numbingly annoying."

If you're looking for a night's entertainment, and you don't mind vapid fluff, you're not gonna find anything better than The Boy Friend.

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