A musical theatre fan (á la Wayne Koestenbaum) shows the audience one of his favourite records to find respite from his ‘non-specific sadness.’ The fictional Drowsy Chaperone musical comes to life from the record and is annotated by the fan in the manor of a Director’s Commentary on a DVD with titbits about the cast and the songs. A suspiciously-mature American High School cast bring the awful, awful record to life.The dramatic purpose of the framing device was unclear; I was often left trying to figure out the meta plot where I now suspect none exists. If you can take it as read, then Man in Chair, our commentating fan, is a fabulous character who holds the show together and certainly got the most laughs. In this production, Man in Chair is a particularly magnetic dancer and singer and is a valuable asset to an already strong cast. Mrs Tottendale is a strong comic force while Janet van der Graaff provides high quality singing and dancing, all supported by a huge company including two maid/reporters who were both clearly leading-lady material.From sophisticated jibes about music theatre and its audience to more puerile numbers like the iced water / neat gin confusion, (goddamn prohibition!) this musical goes all out for the “so bad it’s good” award. This talented cast didn’t have the savoir faire to pull it off every time, but this is the most accomplished amateur show I’ve seen yet! And at £5 a ticket is well worth a visit.

Reviews by James T. Harding

Pleasance Courtyard

Creatives

★★
Bedlam Theatre

The Duck Pond

★★★★★

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The Blurb

This Tony Award-winning show comes to AHSTF for the first time in Fringe history. An excellent story about a musical making fun of musicals from the good old jazz age.

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