Sleepy play eye-open­ing fun

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - SHOWS -

– Pic­ture: MIKE BAT­TER­HAM

THE magic of Broad­way comes alive when Spot­light Theatre show­cases its pro­duc­tion of The Drowsy Chap­er­one – the first time the con­tem­po­rary mu­si­cal has been brought to a Queens­land stage.

Di­rec­tor Clem Halpin says he and his wife fell in love with the play when they saw it on the West End six years ago.

‘‘We were drawn to its un­usual as­pects – you don’t know what to ex­pect the whole way through it,’’ Halpin says. The Drowsy Chap­er­one is a play within a play. It fol­lows the story of ‘‘The Man in the Chair’’ who plays his favourite record from the 1920s and mag­i­cally the char­ac­ters come to life in his liv­ing room.

He talks the au­di­ence through the fic­tional mu­si­cal, de­scrib­ing each char­ac­ter as they come alive on stage.

Halpin says his pro­duc­tion of The Drowsy Chap­er­one, which stars Char­lotte Win­ter, Alex Downey, Ali­son McKen­zie, Peter Maden, San­dra Har­rhy, David McNeven, Donn Tan­tengco, Jim Price, Sarah Haynes, Jay Ahrens and Lisa Stan­ley, has ev­ery­thing the Broad­way ver­sion had.

‘‘The cos­tumes are very 1920s Down­ton Abbey – they look in­cred­i­ble like they are out of The Great Gatsby era,’’ he says.

‘‘We have a 5.4m old-fash­ioned bi­plane on stage. The stage is re­al­is­tic.’’

Halpin says find­ing the right cast mem­bers for The Drowsy Chap­er­one, which stars five tap dancers, was a chal­lenge.

‘‘I was hard to find a old man that could move and dance and there are not many male tap dancers on the Coast that can sing. Two of the mains ac­tu­ally learnt to tap dance in eight weeks,’’ Halpin says.

‘‘Shani McKay, the chore­og­ra­pher, did an amaz­ing job. There’s a blind­folded roller-skat­ing scene that’s tremen­dous.’’ Au­di­ences can ex­pect a few sur­prises. ‘‘It’s a re­ally funny show with a bit of slap­stick hu­mour. When we saw it, the au­di­ence laughed the whole way through. ‘‘I hope we can do the same,’’ Halpin says.

– ROSE SADLEIR

The Drowsy Chap­er­one opens at Spot­light Theatre to­mor­row and plays Thurs­days to Satur­days at 7.30pm un­til June 8 with 2pm mati­nees on May 26 and June 2.

Alex Downey, Char­lotte Win­ter, Ali­son McKen­zie and Jay Ahrens star in The Drowsy Chap­er­one.

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