The Drowsy Chaperone

Date 27th October 2012
Society Hayling Musical Society
Venue Hayling Community Centre
Type of Production Musical
Director Tony Dart
Musical Director Jessica Brake
Choreographer Lucy Watts


Author: John E Thomas

At the beginning of the performance The Man in the Chair says, “All I want from a show is to be entertained” echoing the sentiments of his audience. We were then treated to a production which included clever monologues linking the scenes and providing background information delivered with a great sense of timing in his own inimitable style by Mike Gilbert; impressive solo and part singing by a small but lively chorus who had great energy and a sense of fun; and witty comedy; all the ingredients of an delightful evening.
Although the sets were simple they were effective. The use of the side of the stage for the Man’s study meant that the scene shifting required could be carried out by the cast, thus aiding continuity. The cast used pause and freezing the movement on stage, to allow the Man to comment on the action, to good effect. Timing is so important in comedy and congratulations to Daniel Wallage and George Summers (The two gangsters) for coordinating their moves rhythmically, and to Bill Wallage as Alphonso who carried out his slapstick comedy routines with such aplomb.
The Director, Tony Dart, played to his cast’s talents. Zoe Fisher was brilliant as Janet Van De Graff. She has an amazing voice and her solos were the highlight of the show. Not only can she dance, even with a bandaged foot, but her body language and facial expressions are so appropriate. Praise too, for Rowena Ashman as The Drowsy Chaperone. She managed to show drunkenness without going too far. The interlude with her and Underling (Edward Thurgood) was highly entertaining. So was the rendition of “Cold Feet” by Rob Evans and Malcolm Peake (Robert and George). Neither men are natural dancers but the clever choreography by Lucy Watts meant all the moves were very effective.
The only criticism was the volume of the orchestra. At times it was too loud. The MD (Jessica Brake) needs to ensure that there is a balance between the stage and the musicians and be prepared to make adjustments. Nevertheless as the Man says,” A musical takes you to another world and gives you a little tune to carry away in your head” and I came away humming “I Do, I Do in the sky.”