The Drowsy Chaperone by SEDOS
The Drowsy Chaperone
The Drowsy Chaperone is a musical which harks back to the golden era of musicals, except with a twist. It is told from the point of view of a modern day narrator, a man in a chair who uses his favourite show as a means of escapism. Of course this show is named, ‘The Drowsy Chaperone,’ and a show within a show ensues.
This show is set apart from others in a similar vein due to the Narrator and for this reason I would have liked to have seen more in the script on this point. The show itself is one for musical theatre lovers to revel in, with reference to theatre audiences, Ben Elton and Gypsy to name but a few. The joy of the show will not escape the ‘average Joe’ with humerous numbers (Bride’s Lament) and funny one liners. I have to admit that this show, whilst having many enjoyable songs lacks that one or two big numbers that really helps put the show on the map.
The narrator, otherwise known as Man In Chair is played brilliantly by Alex Baker. Whilst Baker is arguably on the young side for the part, that is easily forgotten with his detailed mannerisms and his consistent characterisation. Baker hardly leaves the stage and even when the focus is not on him you can’t help but be engaged by his reaction to all that is going on around him. He could have very easily have ‘camped’ this part up however Baker towed this line perfectly to make the Man in the Chair a part with a genuine heart.
The rest of the cast fitted nicely into their roles, each very distinguishable and like Baker fitting perfectly between larger than life, stereotypical roles and leaving each actor with a character you cared about. One of my favourite performances was Heather Broderick who played dippy Kitty, longing to take the lead. She was very likable, her accent never dropping and her dance really shone. Mention must also go to Angus Jacobs who played Robert Martin and his tap skills and Corin Miller who played Janet Van de Graaff and her superb voice.
SEDOS always manage to make the Bridewell Theatre completely transform and The Drowsy Chaperone was no exception. The set was cleverly laid out with entrances and exits including fridges, doors and bookshelves. Once again the attention to detail was lovely with the bookshelf being littered with books and records, the kitchen looking suitability fully stocked and clever lighting within the living room at appropriate moments.
The attention to detail that SEDOS paid to the set within The Drowsy Chaperone was indicative of the show as a whole and this was what really made the show work for me. As the show is told through the Man In Chair’s imagination it is important that each character is how he would envisage them and they got this spot on. The clever visual gags added to the depth of this show and you could tell that the Director (Emma J Leaver) had looked at every minute moment in the show to ensure not a joke is missed, or indeed overplayed.
I feel as if I am constantly saying this about SEDOS, but they really have got amateur theatre right and the Drowsy Chaperone is yet another example of this. Whilst the Drowsy Chaperone isn’t a show I would rush out and see again, I would probably watch SEDOS perform anything…. and on that note bring on their next show!
You can find out more about SEDOS here, including their future productions.