Boy Meets Boy
It’s a boy’s world in this 1930’s musical romp
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Great voices, brilliant comic timing, beautiful musical arrangements and some incredible choreography bring this art deco treat to life.
Boy Meets Boy at The Jermyn Theatre is the UK premiere of a surprisingly fun look at gay life in the early part of the 20th Century.
Given the small space, there are some seriously impressive dance routines that prove the skill of the performers themselves as well as choreographer Lee Proud and strangely, as the show proceeds the restricted space seems to no longer be an issue as we are drawn deeper into the story of three men playing an amusing game of cat and mouse that spans three cities in a tale of love, longing and laughter.
At the start of Boy Meets Boy, it’s very hard to like almost any of the main characters – they are pretty much all narcissistic, wealthy and self-obsessed. The play starts with an impending marriage ceremony between two men (so there’s a slight need for suspension of disbelief that there could be a high class gay wedding in 1930’s society) with a mob of baying society press and stuck up relatives – but there’s a no show and wealthy Clarence Cutler is dumped at the alter by his betrothed, the titled Guy Rose. Meanwhile, scurrilous journalist Casey O’Brien wakes in his hotel suite after having enjoyed a wild party the night before and a mousey young man is found under the bed with a sore head after having much too much fun, and then realises that he’s late for his own wedding.
Guy Rose soon sobers up and realises that he’s had a lucky escape. But Casey O’Brien is on the hunt for a scoop and the other journalists convince him that Guy Rose is the most beautiful man in the world. Of course, Guy Rose is actually the rather mousey young man tagging at his heels. But despite coming from a gentrified family, Guy Rose is broke and a long way from home, so he convinces Casey that he can lead him to Guy Rose at several of the best restaurant in town (which means he gets fed).
Of course it turns out that Guy Rose is the only nice guy in a bunch of bad guys – and he slowly falls in love with Casey O’Brien. Casey only wants to meet the Guy Rose he’s been told about and can’t see what’s standing right in front of him, while Clarence Cutler does his best to cause trouble.
As the story flicks from New York to London and on to Paris, there are plenty of great scenes and slowly but surely, Guy Rose brings out the good in everyone else. Naturally, this turns out to be an ‘Ugly Duckling Turns Into A Beautiful Swan’ story as Guy Rose ends up scrubbing up well and stealing Casey O’Brien’s heart.
With a brilliant comic performance from Ben Kavanagh as Clarence Cutler (there’s shades of Jack from Will and Grace about him in this role), Stephen Ashfield is great as Casey O’Brien thanks to an ability to be despicable and delightful all at the same time. However, the stand-out performance comes from Craig Fletcher as Guy Rose. Craig plays Guy as mousey and meek, while later becoming confidence and sleek – creating a loveable shard of light in a dark world.
On top of all that – there’s an unfeasibly attractive group of supporting cast who dance around in their underwear.
Boy Meets Boy is at The Jermyn Street Theatre until 20th December 2012. For tickets and more details visit jermynstreettheatre.co.uk
Words: Matthew Christian
Photo: Polly Hancock