22nd July 2006 - Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park, London NW1 4NP
Now that summer has finally arrived, do yourself a favour and book a ticket – if any are available – for Sandy Wilson’s 1953 classic. Ian Talbot’s captivating and flawless production takes you to an enchanting era and will leave you with a smile from beginning to end.
Madame Dubonnet (Anna Nicholas) runs a finishing school for young English ladies on the French Riviera. Her pupils are excited by the forthcoming carnival ball and consider who their beaus will be. Unfortunately poor-little-rich-girl Polly Browne (Rachel Jerram) is reluctant to fall for any young man as he may face the wrath of her father, Percival (Steven Pacey), who believes any male is simply after her because of her wealth. Tony (Joshua Dallas), a supposed delivery-man woos her, but he is fighting his own demons, and turns out to be more than an appropriate match. Of course, by the end they and all the cast are happily matched.
There are some starry performances particularly from Nicholas as well as Talbot who plays old Lord Brockhurst who prefers to chase the girls rather than spending time with his wife Lady Brockhurst (Jennifer Piercey) and Summer Strallen as Maisie. It is though Jerram, fresh out of drama school, who steals the show. In a particularly poignant moment on press night, 82-year-old Sandy Wilson took to the stage at the end to a standing ovation, saying: “This is Rachel’s first job and it won’t be her last”.
With their colourful costumes of the Twenties, the cast charmingly take you into their lives and, in doing so will leave you toe-tapping to many of the winning lyrics which include ‘Won’t You Charleston with me?’, ‘I Could Be Happy With You’ and of course, ‘The Boy Friend’.
This endearing and magical tale of innocence brings a new meaning to summer happiness.
Playwright: Sandy Wilson
Director: Ian Talbot