Love London Love Culture rounds up the reviews for this revival of Sandy Wilson’s musical.

(c)Manuel Harlan

The Guardian: **** “A special mention should go to Paul Farnsworth’s costumes that with their ostrich-plumed headdresses and organdie frocks ideally match Wilson’s exuberant period pastiche.”

WhatsOnStage: *** “It all adds up to a perfectly marvellous Christmas evening, with lashings of Riviera romance and some top tier performances to boot – all able to warm any soul with its sickly sweet cheer on a frosty winter eve. But a spellbinding central turn and moments of brilliant choreography are largely as far as it goes.”

The Stage: “While White’s production has those occasional moments, its comedy isn’t always on the mark; too indulgent, or fighting against the humour that’s already in the script. But, mostly, for a couple of colourful hours of song and dance and silliness, being in Nice is nicer than not.”

The Telegraph: **** “Staged at the Menier Chocolate Factory, just a short way from London Bridge, the show (whose delighted audiences during its five-year West End run in the Fifties included the Queen) emblemises a quality of indestructible optimism in its carefree portrait of finishing school gals falling head over heels with delectable pals on the Cote d’Azur.”

(c)Manuel Harlan.

London ***** “I said it was silly, but there’s also something profound in the sheer joy it generates. It is all handsomely housed in Paul Farnsworth’s delightful French Riviera settings of bandstands and sky vistas, while his beautiful costumes are a treat themselves.”

Evening Standard: **** “Paul Farnsworth’s set is sketchy, his costumes splashy, while the band led by Simon Beck is watertight. It’s all terrifically silly and frivolous but, my God, it’s good fun.”

London Theatre1: *** “It’s one of those ‘sit back, relax and enjoy’ shows – nothing more and nothing less, an agreeable evening of escapism.”

Theatre Weekly: ***** “The Boy Friend is that certain thing we are all looking for; the perfect antidote to modern life, fun and frivolity to the point where, for a couple of hours at least, we can feel as carefree as they did in the twenties.  Joyous and delightful, you’ll find yourself grinning with glee from start to finish, and falling head over heels in love with Sandy Wilson’s marvellous musical.”

(c)Manuel Harlan.

Time out: *** “This all accepted, ‘The Boy Friend’ is very, very clearly not great art, nor does it have any particular emotional heft beyond ‘ha ha, they’re silly’. But if you’d like two-and-a-half hours of pretending 2019 doesn’t exist, this is your show.”

Broadway World: **** “Forget Brexit, forget dismal weather, forget the election: escape to this sun-drenched, jubilant, musical comedy paradise. The perfect winter warmer.”

The Times: *** “I would love to say that this skilful revival of Sandy Wilson’s mock-Twenties musical is the perfect piffle it aspires to be. Matthew White’s  high-kicking yet intimate production has all sorts going for it — fine singing, charlestons a gogo from Bill Deamer’s  choreography, a handsome yet spare shiny-floored blue set by Paul Farnsworth that summons up the French Riviera.”

Musical Theatre Review: **** “It all contributes to an evening free of contemporary resonance, of cares about the fragility of the outside world, and instead invites us to bask in the Provençal sunshine of a bygone age. In the encroaching murk of a London winter, one could scarcely hope for more.”

(c)Manuel Harlan.

British Theatre Guide: “The Menier has almost certainly found itself another Christmas hit, although The Boy Friend is unashamedly nostalgic and arguably none the worse for that, particularly as Matthew Wright ensures that everyone’s tongue is kept firmly in his or her cheek throughout.”

The Metro: **** “Meanwhile, into his pitch-perfect production, White injects a soupçon of irony that allows his audience to laugh with and at these shallow lives — a note reflected in the glinting eye of Dee’s Dubonnet and the saucy glare of her housekeeper Hortense (the excellent Tiffany Graves).”

inews: *** “That leaves the young ensemble to work tirelessly, kicking up their heels this way and that to yet another well-drilled dance routine from choreographer Bill Deamer that by the third act seems to be filling in where the plot has simply stopped – by which point one’s broad smile from the first act may have morphed into a mere grin.”

The Daily Mail: **** “But it’s the show’s sweet centre that triumphs, with Amara Okereke and Dylan Mason dueting as rich-kid innocents who believe each other to be the ordinary boy and girl next door. Not once does anyone let their guard down with even the smallest cloud of self-mockery. If this doesn’t make it to the West End, I’ll eat my boater.”

The Boy Friend will play at the Menier Chocolate Factory until the 7th March.


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