To celebrate the theatre companies’ 70th birthday, East Berkshire Operatic Society’s production of The Boyfriend graced the stage at South Hill Park last week.

The 1920’s style musical combined thrilling ensemble numbers and beautiful vocals to ensure a thrilling night out at the theatre.

Reporter Nicole McBride went along to see the tongue in cheek hilarity of the age-old musical.

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Sandy Wilson’s, The Boy Friend is a tale of young love in the French Riviera performed by a touring theatrical troupe in the 1950’s. The stage at South Hill Theatre was transformed into a typical French promenade where tale’s of young love are portrayed in the roaring twenties.  

Although this reporter noticed the occasional blunder within some of the dance numbers, one sometimes found it difficult to decipher the ‘rehearsed blunders’ and accidental mis-steps. With it’s tongue in cheek comedy and occasional wink to the audience, this is the beauty of performing a ‘show within a show’.

The engagement that the performers had with the audience broke down that forth wall in a way that gives more freedom to play and react. This is the genius of the concept created by Sandy Wilson and re-created in this adaption directed by Natalie Hayllor.

From the feisty French accents of Hortense (Emma Carver) to the suave debonaire upper class English tones of Tony Brockhurst (Stuart Hayllor) the varying accents were top notch.

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One also must commend the lead performers for their stunning vocals. Particularly Laura Thain who played the oh so smitten Polly Brown. Her lead vocals were crystal clear, with gorgeous control and support on those high notes.

Throughout the production, the silent portrayal of backstage happenings were particularly dynamic amoungst the characters. This emphasises how subtlety can create a powerful effect on the audience and bring out nuances and relationships that may not have been evident during song or dance numbers.

This was the first time since 1993 that EBOS have re-created The Boy Friend at South Hill Park.