Sleepy play eye-opening fun
– 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.