The Drowsy Chaperone
28th April 2012
Adlington Community Centre, Adlington
Type of Production
Anthony Williams Direction & Choreographer
Author: Wendy Newton
Choreographer: Assistant Director Jackie Doherty.
This musical is so comparatively new and not been widely presented as an amateur production so I feel that I must on this occasion, include a synopsis. I’ve taken this directly from the Programme, as I feel it does perfect justice to the Story.
“A lonely musical theatre fan sits in the gloom of his apartment and yearns for the musicals of another era-and in particular his favourite musical of all time, the 1928 Broadway Musical …The Drowsy Chaperone, starring some of 1920’s theatre’s best loved performers. Will we allow him to re-create the magic for us? Well …we hear the hiss of the static, as he puts the LP of the soundtrack onto his old record player, he reminisces about how his mother would play the music and tell him of the amazing story of the Drowsy Chaperone. Up comes the sound of the orchestra and as we hear the opening strains of the overture and the voices of actors who have long since left the stage… he …and perhaps us as well are swept up in a wave of nostalgia as the show comes to life in his living room.”
From the moment I entered the hall I knew that I was in for a treat; from the clever use of Drowsy Chaperone LPs that adorned various beams and walls etc, to the cabaret style tables at the front of the auditorium, all gave the right ambience immediately. There wasn’t one weakness in any of the preparation, presentation or production of the whole event!
Where can I start; well I can honestly say that I sit here trying to think of how I can write this report but not look like I was paid to write it!I honestly was NOT paid to write it.
I felt that I was really in the apartment and actually in a Broadway musical. Anthony Williams (Director) produced an absolutely fabulous presentation! Obviously an extremely experienced and adept director and choreographer having a wealth of credits to his name must be congratulated on this which I thought was a masterpiece. Lucky A.M. & A.S.!Along with Jackie Doherty (Assistant Director) a very talented right-hand lady with a long list of credits within the society, so brilliantly put together between the two of them, it was to prove that this was a “Dynamic Duo”.
I couldn’t fault with any of the direction and overall staging at all; to say nothing of the Choreography which was brilliant, totally in keeping with the era and not a foot, head, hand or hair out of place. I simply did not want it to end!
Dave Dosset (musical director) commanded a fabulous orchestra which produced probably the best “Big Band” 1920s sound that I have heard, it was exactly the right balance of sound for this piece, a great accompaniment for the cast and yet not too overpowering or too loud as can sometimes happen with a orchestra of this size, definitely not here though it was a joy to listen to.
Philip May (The man in the chair) - What a part this was! one of the best, if not the best role for a man to be a narrator; from an arm chair but within his own room filled with various props including a record player all of which were used with perfect timing. On stage for the whole show, he didn’t put a word wrong; he totally engaged with the audience from the moment that he said the first word; every intonation was meaningful and well executed including all sorts of little nuances in keeping with each scene, perfect for him as a very talented actor.
Diane Simmons (The Drowsy Chaperone) this was a gem of a part for so obviously a quality comedy Actress. Her immaculate timing and expert stage presence kept everyone, waiting intrepidly for each little facial expression and roll of the eye, indeed most of the time she didn’t have to say a thing to have the audience rolling in the aisles! Fabulous!
All of the following Characters :
Joy Plowes (Janet Van Der Graaff), Paul Kerrigan( Percy Hyman), Richard Leigh (Adolpho) Ian Hawyes ( George), Victoria Birchall ( Kitty), John Cornthwite (Feldzeig), Helen Cross (Mrs Tottendale), Joe Simmons(Underling), Stephen Glenn & Rob Armstrong (The Pastry Chefs)
Allison Smith (Trix the Aviatrix) sang ,danced and acted their socks off in order to make each character totally believable. Each in her/his own right perfected their roles and commanded the stage at every conceivable moment, whilst wringing every piece of comedy out of each scene superbly.
The supporting chorus equally gave their best, were totally focused and obviously had been well drilled in their routines, songs, diction and timing for all of the numbers. The attention to detail was second to none; the set was really clever and extremely effective, whilst being static, its use was useful and well thought out. Lighting and Sound were superb and enhanced the whole performance.
Costumes were pristine; totally in character and in keeping with the era, even the shoes, hair styles and make up were correct.
I would like to say Congratulations & Well done to the whole company, committee, production team, cast, crew and front of house for this amazing and successful Production!You really do deserve all of the above comments and more besides.