The Boy Friend
Reviewed by David Kashimba
Photo by Charles Jarrett

Its so difficult to just sit still and watch, said Lois Grandi about Playhouse Wests opening night production of The Boy Friend. I want to be up there singing and dancing with the cast. What director and choreographer Lois Grandi didnt realize is that her words echoed the feelings of the entire audience as they watched this high energy musical playing at Walnut Creeks Dean Lesher Regional Center For The Arts.

Indeed, movement is the emphasis of this fine production and its not restricted to the dance numbers. Every small gesture becomes part of the fun-loving innocence of this 1920s story of boy meets girl. Though the story may be predictable, the movement is full of delightful surprises. The Dance numbers are a lively blend of ballet, modern dance, jazz dance, chorus line and a roaring 20s brand of ballroom. Virtuoso musician and conductor Dave Dobrusky directs the live music.

This production has a special meaning to Grandi, taking her back to when she was 17, a wide-eyed hopeful dancer-actress ready to take the city of New York by storm, and cast in the off-Broadway revival of The Boy Friend. But her past connection to the musical probably brought even more energy to this production. A perfectionist in her art, she can be very demanding of her actors and this production was no exception. According to some of the younger cast members, it took a long time before she complemented anyone during rehearsals, but when a compliment finally came, they all knew they had really accomplished something.

This sense of accomplishment explodes on the stage with a synergy that entertains the audience in a way that carries them to another time and has their feet dancing as they find it more and more difficult to sit in their seats.

For tickets or more information call (925) 943-SHOW.

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