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The Drowsy Chaperone

Date

21st October 2015

Society

Linlithgow Amateur Musical Productions

Venue

Linlithgow Academy

Type of Production

Musical

Director

Sandy Queenan

Musical Director

Eddie Maclennan

Choreographer

Elspeth Whyte

Report

Author: Elizabeth Donald

This was a splendid show and really funny. The scenario of a lonely man commenting on the merits and demerits of a 1920’s show he has only ever known from listening to his parents’ record collection seemed an unlikely candidate for laughs but take the night before a wedding, add attempts to prevent it taking place, the fears of the bride, and a drunken chaperone and you have all the elements of comedy. The lynch pin of the show was Cameron Leask as The Man in the Chair. He brought out, with deprecating wit, humour and nostalgia tinged with wistfulness. This was a difficult role but he engaged his audience and retained them. No mean feat. Shona Fraser as the bride-to-be Janet Van De Graaf gave an impressive performance, interpreting the character well in song, mannerisms and movement.  Likewise Graeme Scott as her groom Robert Martin, sang effortlessly and extracted every ounce of bewilderment and comedy, especially when roller skating blindfolded. The Drowsy Chaperone was played ably by Sheila Rodgers, delighting in her role and responding eagerly to the mistaken advances of Adolpho played by Les Fulton who in turn delighted with his keenness and reluctance to seduce. People were copying his accent and actions on the way out - a great compliment. These roles were supported by the other principals: Eric Brown as the brash, domineering show boss Feldzeig; Connor Watt as Best Man and Rebecca Gillies as squeaky Kitty, demonstrating their versatility in characterisation; Siobhan Smith as the attractive Trix and Jonathon Rodgers as stern Superintendant .  Characters were well matched with a lovely pairing of characters in Sue Spencer as Mrs Tottendale and Gary Withnell as Underling and their memorable sequence of dancing and tap dancing, and with Roddy Bain and Gregor Preston as the ridiculously inept gangsters. Dancers and chorus all played their parts in costumes that suited and against a set that worked well. The production and choreography had some lovely imaginative touches, and the whole sound resonated with the era. The company responded and this show ranks as one of their best.