So, as you might have surmised from the title, this post is dedicated to The Drowsy Chaperon, the first play of a 12-show season produced by the Melbourne Theatre Company.
For as long as I can remember, I have been a huge fan of theatre productions, and musicals in particular, rank as top-things-to-do-before-I-die. While TV is not-so-bad and cinema movies can be enjoyable, there is something about 'live' theatre that captivates (me). For one, there is a sense of spontaneity (no 'cut' or 're-takes' in the event of a mistakes), a feeling of in-your-face intimacy (no 'cellulite' or glass in between us), and perhaps most of all, of being a part of the show.
Whereas most forms of entertainment seek to, well, entertain us, theatre production seek to engage. And the better the engagement with the audience, the better the show will be well received and loved.
Coming now to the production I watched, to put it simply (through pulling the plot straight from the MTC website), the production tells the tale of Geoffrey Rush "as a die-hard musical theatre fan who invites us into his dreary living room. As he drops the needle on his all-time favourite album, an outrageously funny musical from the 1920s, The Drowsy Chaperone, (literally and physically) bursts into life complete with a pampered starlet, gangsters, chorus girls and all manner of mayhem".
While having a narrator as part of the plot is nothing new, less common is a narrator who sings and dances alongside the casts of 'the story'. And least you forget that the 'song and dance' is but a 'fragment of Geoffrey's imagination', audiences (and Geoffrey) are brought crashing back to 'reality' by the persistent ringing of Geoffrey's phone, and also, by a little glitch in the record which had the cast in repeat-action/dance-mode for about 30seconds, a scene which remains one of the funniest highlights of the show.
If you're looking for a production full of colour, song, dance, lots and lots of laughs and many kooky (but still lovable) characters, there is probably nothing more well done than The Drowsy Chaperone. That there were no annoying intermissions also added to the appeal of the show. Instead of being shooed out, audiences were kept entertained by the ever delightful Geoffrey who snacked on a bar of chocolate while the cast was given a chance to recuperate and change scenes behind drawn curtains. So all things considered, a very unforgettable start to the 2010 season. Fingers crossed then, that the remaining 11 shows will live up to expectations. =)