Back to reviews

“The Drowsy Chaperone”

It was a great privilege to be part of the 60th Anniversary celebrations for St Andrew’s Players, and a very fitting production.  A good cast, good production, and a very funny show.

Frances Hall is an insightful Director – and saw beyond what is a rather tenuous tale, getting her cast to really buy into it.  There were some excellent directorial touches, which helped make the show a pleasure to watch.

The lighting was good – but I was a little disappointed with the set – I know it was supposed to be the Man in Chair’s apartment – and was of necessity a bit seedy and nondescript, but I felt more could have been made of it.  I liked the cast moving the props and setting up the many and various scenes without any interruption to the action, it meant the whole show flowed well, and the pace was kept up throughout.

Beth Thomas is a first-class MD, the band sounded harmonious, and the music was, in the main, well-sung, with some nice nuances to some lovely numbers.

For me there was one real stand-out performance, which was Steve Peters as Man in Chair. As the narrator/story teller it was his job to both set and link the scenes, he was so marvellously expressive, whilst managing to remain this rather odd, nerdy character. Beautifully constructed characterisation, which made even the most strange references interesting!

The second excellent performance was Joanna Yirrell as Janet Van De Graaff.  Jo has recently been pulling some exceptional performances out of the hat, and this was one of them – somehow making the Bride’s Lament both interesting and weirdly realistic. Jo looked elegant and lovely, whilst delivering some very strange lines with great meaning.

Sarah Albert as the ditzy blonde pulled out a good comic performance as usual, which contrasted well with that of Jo.

James Driver was a very debonair Robert Martin, Janet’s fiancé, very ‘matinee idol’ and nicely achieved.  A good foil for Janet.

I thought the choreography had some nice touches.  Jo Harris is a new name to me and I liked what she did in terms of interpreting the mood and feel of the numbers.  Although there were too many people on stage for some of the numbers – less would have been more!

I liked Andrew Alton as George, a small part, but he made an impact. I thought the comic partnership of Valerie Mills and Keith Turton was great fun – I particularly enjoyed the asides from Keith, and the ‘spitting’ routine, they played well off each other. A great surprise was Richard Cowling in a comedy role – which he accomplished very well.  Good timing and some classic lines, a good all-round performance.

Jonny Mills and Dale Stacey as the pastry chef/gangsters were also a good duo.

Unfortunately I can’t mention all the cast members as I do not have the space, but overall it was good, fun show that had the audience laughing out loud, and left us on a high with a very definite ‘feel good’ factor.  If you missed it, then you missed a great experience!

St. Andrew’s Players

The Drowsy Chaperone” review date: 2TH June 2012

Luton Library Theatre

Director: Frances Hall   MD: Beth Thomas

Choreographer: Jo Harris

Back to reviews