Gene David Kirk’s direction has turned a nearly forgotten New York gem, set within London’s roaring high society of the 1930s, into an extravagantly lovable London delight with a brilliant cast and production team behind it.
Leads Stephen Ashfield and Craig Fletcher as lothario American journalist Casey O’Brien and scruffy English aristocrat Guy Rose respectively are a wonderfully high-octane duo to watch. Fletcher’s awkward dowdiness is as convincing as it is adorable, whilst Ashfield’s swaggering arrogance is amusing and alluring in equal measures.
Ben Kavanagh as Boston millionaire, Guy’s ex, and campy villain Clarence Cutler at points nearly steals the show parading a spitfire personality with intent to delight. But additionally the eight chorus members and other supporting cast bring a slick panache and abound of energy that you simply cannot escape from.
It’s a shame that the show has dipped below radar for so long as there are many frolicsome, touching, and memorable songs, all sung here with heart and flair, making it a wonder that it took nearly thirty years to reach Britain. But whilst it gets the attention and care it deserves, it doesn’t get the space it deserves. As resourceful as Kirk’s direction is, and choreographer Lee Proud’s astonishing ability to create kapow in a shoebox, it begs for a bigger production in a theatre that can accommodate the glitz it longs for. There’s not much shazam in an orchestra of only two pianos and a double bass, especially during Proud’s exquisite routines that would have Fred and Ginger feel at home in.
However, carefree and delightfully romantic, Boy Meets Boy is a glorious tinderbox of charm that will not fail to make smile meet face.
• Jermyn Street Theatre, Piccadilly Circus, SW1 6ST
• Running to 20th December