DROWSY CHAPERONE to 31 October .

Book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar. Music and Lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison

Upstairs At The Gatehouse, Highgate Village, N6 4BD to 31st October 2010
Tue–Sat 7:45pm Sun 4pm.
Runs 2hrs. One interval.

TICKETS: 020 8340 3488
Review: Geoff Ambler 28th September 2010

The Gatehouse lights up the autumn gloom with a new Best Show in Town!
I’ve missed Drowsy Chaperone since it closed after too short a run in the West End. A public prepped by the BBC and Lloyd-Webber headed to the wrong show and completely missed the endless joys Chaperone is imbued with; the Tony winning Broadway smash failed to ignite over here, although every time I went the audiences seemed to love it as well. Finally it returns to London and straight into the hands of the immensely talented Racky Plews and the Gatehouse team.

Drowsy Chaperone (the musical within the comedy) now exists only in the head of the Man in Chair and on an old LP in his treasured collection of musicals. Through his narration he provides his own criticism of this 1920’s pastiche, but with it an obvious adoration of the actors, the characters they played as well as the musical and from this the show bursts into life within his imagination, the original cast arriving through his fridge and performing in his apartment.

The Gatehouse’s daring revival captures all the thrills of the original, on a stage a fraction of the size. The impressive set compromises some of the theatre’s usual seating but is worth the trouble. With a director who cut her teeth devising dazzling choreography and Fabian Aloise taking responsibility for Drowsy Chaperone’s routines, the dance numbers excite throughout; the entire cast fills the stage for the Toledo Surprise in something mixing crowd control with some sublime choreography.

With Siobhan McCarthy as the eponymous Drowsy Chaperone the show finally gains a convincing and hilarious drunk. Every line perfectly slurred, perfectly lucid, perfectly side-splitting, perfect joy! Andrew Lloyd Davies as Man in Chair delivers a delightfully endearing, yet moving performance as the man lost in his musicals collection. Amy Diamond and Ashley Day sparkle as the young nearly-weds and Michael Howe steals scenes as the brilliantly conceived and adroitly delivered Aldolpho.

The Man rounds the show up with a quote that has stuck with me since it opened in the Novello It does what a musical is supposed to do; it takes you to another world. It does, yet it does so much more. This time the other world is above The Gatehouse in Highgate and it’s the best show in Town all over again!

Man In Chair: Matthew Lloyd Davies
Underling: Ted Merwood
Mrs Tottendale: Ursula Mohan
Robert Martin: Ashley Day
George: Gavin Keenan
Feldzieg: Graham Lappin
Kitty: Tanya Robb
Gangster #1: Jo Parsons
Gangster #2: Will Stokes
Aldolpho: Michael Howe
Janet Van De Graaff: Amy Diamond
The Drowsy Chaperone: Siobhan McCarthy
Trix: Sophia Nomvete
The Superintendant: Guest Artist

Directed by: Racky Plews
Choreography by: Fabian Aloise
Musical Supervisor: Michael England
Musical Director: Tim Whiting
Design by: Martin Thomas
Lighting Design: Howard Hudson
Sound Design: Aaron Buck
Casting by: Ellie Collyer-Bristow

2010-10-01 09:17:48

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