The Drowsy Chaperone **** (4 stars)
A well- known story can always bring audiences to the Fringe. This was no exception. Our first character known simply as “Man in Chair”, he addresses the audience, eager to share one of his favourites. In this case it is the fictional 1928 Broadway hit, The Drowsy Chaperone. Settling into his armchair to listen, the musical quite literally bursts to life in his apartment.
The musical itself concerns the wedding of Broadway star Janet Van De Graaf to the handsome Robert Martin. With Van De Graaf declaring she is willing to give up stardom for love. Although the wedding is derailed to save his Follies in which she stars. Add a couple of gangsters looking to ensure their boss’ investment in Feldzieg’s show is protected, a surprise visit by an aviatrix, and the requisite ditzy chorine, the meta madcap is near endless.
As the over-the-top musical plays out around him, Derek Ward who plays Man in Chair regales us with some wry observations on the music, story, and actors. But while there is a risk the sarcasm will wear thin, there is an aura of pure joy as he listens and watches the musical play out.
Perhaps surprisingly, for the uninitiated at least, this musical’s title comes via one of the musical’s characters. Referring to the chaperone of the bride, the descriptor comes early as she declares champagne makes her drowsy.
The show is well produced, casted and certainly worth going to see Kingdom Theatre Company for their last production in the 2019 Fringe Festival. The musicians play a good and strong part in the whole 2 hours. If you wish good value for money as well in a Fringe show, then you are seeing this.
The show runs until Saturday 24th at 7.50pm in the Greenside@Nicholson Square.