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LOVE NANCY DREW BOOKS? THIS PLAY'S A MUST

From fun swing music (original compositions by Chet Popiolkowski), to '30s lingo, to flapper dresses, "Nancy Drew and the Mystery of the Crandall Jewels" solves the mystery of what a great children's play should be.

The play, an original adaptation from Carolyn Keene's book "The Mystery of Lilac Inn," was written by the wonderful Kenneth Shaw of the Theatre of Youth, Buffalo's only theater dedicated to children.

The story is a wild ride that comes to involve a jewel theft, a car accident, a surly waiter (played wonderfully by Timothy P. Finnegan), a meddling best-friend-turned-assistant (the always-stunning Katie White), a boat wreck, and finally, the mandatory face-off between the good guys and the bad guys.

Nancy Drew (yes, the daughter of famed criminal lawyer Carson Drew) is played by a name familiar in Buffalo theater, Kamala Boeck. She brings life and great energy to a girl who, until now, lived only in books. As a reader of practically every Nancy Drew book written, I really enjoyed this play. Everything was perfect, from the 1930s lingo, to the constant references to Nancy's father, to the end, where they alluded to the next mystery. Anyone who has ever read and enjoyed Nancy Drew should see this play.

The cast really stands out. Keeley Sheenan, as the despicably haughty Mary Mason, makes you laugh while playing the bad guy to Nancy's perpetual sainthood. Another notable is Finnegan as both Jennings, the perfect stereotypical waiter, and Bud Mason, the dimwitted accessory to crime. My favorite is Helen Corning, played by White. Her Helen is Nancy's bumbling assistant and best friend, and just excellent. As a whole, the cast shines in this play.

Performances continue through Oct. 25, with school shows through Oct. 30, at the Theatre of Youth, 282 Franklin St. in downtown Buffalo.

Kate Nowadly is a junior at City Honors High School.

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