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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Pandora’s “Boy Meets Boy” Is Escapist, Silly Comedy

Alex Craig & Micth Donahue in Boy Mets Boy.
Photo by Clay Cook courtesy of Nfocus Louisville.

Boy Meets Boy

Book by Bill Solly and Donald Ward, Music & Lyrics by Bill Solly
Directed by Michael Drury
Musical direction by Gayle King, Choreography by Frank Goodloe

Review by Brian Walker

Entire contents are copyright © 2013, Brian Walker. All rights reserved.

Boy Meets Boy is a campy musical comedy that first premiered off-Broadway in 1975. In the world of the play, same-sex relationships are considered the norm and no one bats an eye at the idea of a gay marriage. It uses the late '30s London and Paris as its backdrop and features a very Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers Hollywood musical style. It wants to make the audience feel as though they’re watching one of those classic romantic films, only with two men instead of a man and a woman – a fun conceit to be sure. And to that end, the production succeeds as an escapist, silly night of broad, situation comedy.

Alex Craig plays Casey, a journalist looking for his next big story. He thinks he’s got a lead when rich socialite and Wall Street tycoon Clarence, played by Eric Sharp, is left standing at the alter by his lover, the mysterious Guy Rose, played by Mitch Donahue. As Casey begins to delve into the story, the script throws in everything you could possibly think of from the musical theater canon:  mistaken identity – check; scheming villain – check; rich, eccentric aunt – check. The only thing that felt original to me was the premise of the world these characters live in. The details and mechanics that made the world up, however, came off as flat and very formulaic and I yearned for the story to show me something other than this very fun idea of same sex couples enjoying the exact same treatment in the world at large as straight couples. Love the concept – I just wish the script went a little deeper.

What the script lacks, this very able ensemble, led by Michael Drury, makes up in droves. Everyone involved does a good job and there really isn’t a weak link in the cast.

I gotta first give props to the chorus: I loved them! Made up of Jennifer Heseman, Sebastian Kearney, Sean Patrick, Jonathon Lee Porter and Gerald Robertson, they brought energy, enthusiasm, a touch of naughtiness and tons of laughs to all of their numbers, featuring economical but effective choreography by Frank Goodloe. Through the entire show they continued to surprise and entertain; they were having a blast which, in turn, made me have a blast.

Amanda Kyle Lahti as the eccentric Aunt Josephine was also very good. Her character has the right mix of camp and melodrama and she hit all her notes effortlessly. Her top of Act II number in which she welcomes her nephew Guy to Paris was one of my favorites of the whole show.

Mitch Donahue was also very good in the role of Guy Rose. He was able to rise above the script’s camp and ground his performance in something very real and palpable. He succeeded in enhancing the campiness and really made me root for him by the end of the show.

Opening night wasn’t perfect:  there were a few missteps and forced notes that'll iron out as the production progresses. Overall I found the production a funny piece of fluff sure to entertain gay or straight, boy or girl.

Boy Meets Boy

September 12-22, 2013

Pandora Productions
at The Henry Clay Theatre
604 S. 3rd Street, 3rd Floor
Louisville, KY 40202
502.216.5502
www.pandoraprods.org



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