The Drowsy Chaperone

Bob Martin and Don McKellar’s The Drowsy Chaperone is a musical comedy set in the 1920’s and was initially written as a comic stag gift before being altered into a full length show for the Toronto Fringe Festival. Narrated by The Man in the Chair, who holds a great love for the show, it transitions between the man’s living room and the scenes of the show being played out on the stage.

This particular production takes a great deal from the Broadway version and although this means the show is slick and enjoyable to watch, I would have preferred to have seen more of their own artistic interpretation.

The narrative follows the soon-to-be-wed couple Robert Martin (Jaco Norval) and Janet Van De Graaff (Charlotte Donald) as they prepare for their wedding. Janet has vowed to give up the stage for Robert but begins to develop cold feet, just as Robert does. Gangsters disguised as pastry chefs also try to stop the wedding and employ Aldolpho (Adam Walker) to sleep with the bride; however he mistakenly ends up with the chaperone instead. The show ends with almost all characters being joined in marriage and flying off to Rio.

The set for this production is simple, yet effective. The company has created a fridge which allows the actors to enter and exit from off stage with added comic value. The costumes are also well designed, bringing the 1920’s straight to 2014. This particular production takes a great deal from the Broadway version starring Sutton Foster and although this means the show is slick and enjoyable to watch, I would have preferred to have seen more of their own artistic interpretation.

The narrative is filled with comic musical numbers, for example Bride’s Lament as the Bride sings about putting a monkey on a pedestal. It is difficult however to comment too much on the singing of this group as the music drowns almost all of the vocals, although this did get better towards the latter part of the show. From what I heard though, the vocals are good. The group also combines piano and backing track which often confused my hearing during the show and I feel the piece could have been strengthened if only live instruments had been used.

Although all of the cast are talented and the production is slick, the star of the show is Stuart Burrows as the Man in the Chair. His portrayal of the character was witty, charismatic and completely charming.

Reviews by Lyndsey Bakewell

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Cygnet Players revive their acclaimed production of this Tony Award Winning Musical. Be transported to the frivolous 1920s in this riotous, glamorous and utterly ridiculous homage to musical theatre. 'Quality theatre at its best' (Sardines). 'This production is one of the best non-professional productions I have ever seen!’ (NODA).