ME AND MY GIRL (@ Reagle Music Theatre through July 20th) is a charming rags to riches musical that’s part Gilbert & Sullivan, part MY FAIR LADY (or “LADDIE” in this case) and part British music hall comedy. It’s not OKLAHOMA mind you, but if you like old fashioned, corny dialogue and jaunty songs like “The Lambeth Walk” then you’ll enjoy Stephen Fry’s savvy revision of the original.
Cynthia Thole directs and recreates the original Broadway choreography, which is the best thing about ME AND MY GIRL: The dancing is crisp, precise, even thrilling. Joshua Holden is the cheeky cockney bloke who learns he’s inherited a castle and a seat in Parliament (if he can measure up to the upper classes). Getting him there is half the fun. The other half is watching the aristocrats squirm.
Carole Healey steals the show as the Duchess who tries to overhaul the lad and his “GIRL” (Jamie Buxton) and in the process, finds a love match herself. Rishi Basu is wonderfully stuffy as Sir John. Watching him join in on the dancing is simply delicious.
Holden’s “education” wouldn’t be complete without a few stumbling blocks and femme fatale Shonna Cirone throws everything but the kitchen sink at the new, soon-to-be-very-rich heir. Cirone manages to be mighty seductive and enormously silly at the same time, chasing the poor man over hill, dale and drawing room couch.
Chris Charron gets to show off his G&S chops as “The Family Solicitor.” He brightens the stage every time he comes back. (I would have loved even more verses of the very model of the modern solicitor general.) Devon Stone as Cirone’s spurned beau makes sputtering into an art.
In short, ME AND MY GIRL is one of those “in for a penny, in for a pound” musicals: You have to let yourself go and give yourself over to lame one liners like the Dutchess’ naughty quip to Sir John’s pensive: “It crossed my mind.” She: “Not a long journey.” That’s how I feel about the musical: not a long journey with plenty of diversions along the way.