Amy Price talks to DULOG about their upcoming production of ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’.
There are so many musical performances happening in Durham right now – does it ever become competitive, to get the performers and musicians?
Elspeth Wilson (Choreographer): With many musicals happening at once it means that more people get a chance to perform which can only be a good thing. And there is so much talent in Durham, so with a bit of searching, it is always possible.
Why ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’?
John Reddel (Assistant MD): DULOG is obviously well known for doing musicals but what is different about The Drowsy Chaperone is that it takes stereotypical aspects of a musical (dream sequences, posh English butler, hopeless romanticism spit takes etc.) and makes a parody of them which is not only very amusing to the regular music theatre aficionado but also a refreshing new outlook for any theatrical arts fan.
Ros Bell (Associate Director): The drowsy chaperone is a hilarious spoof of all things ‘musicals’ and can and will be really funny! Plus it’s full to the brim of hilarious parts so it provides loads to work with for actors and actresses in Durham.
Will this be a big production, or is it more scaled back after your Gala show?
RB: Naturally the production will be smaller than the Gala show, purely because of the size of the venue. In terms of quality and production value it’s still the same high quality, just packed into a smaller venue.
Liz Schofield (Director): The acting in the show couldn’t be any bigger! And with the constant singing and dancing. The audience will be wowed from start to finish.
Would you change anything about the musical if you could?
EW: The roller skating has been a bit of a challenge to choreograph! I wouldn’t mind if that was taken out!
JR: But it makes ‘Accident Waiting to Happen’ so much more entertaining and is a physical representation of what he is singing about!
Can you relate to the ‘non-specific sadness’ in the play?
RB: I think everyone can relate to the non-specific sadness… especially around summative season. Luckily this show is the perfect remedy for it, so come along and see it – for your health….
Is this sublime or ridiculous as a musical?
RB: Totally ridiculous! It’s a real spoof of every musical theatre cliche imaginable.
LS: The play grows from the sublime to the ridiculous and with 4 wedding on a plane it couldn’t get more ridiculous! But as crazy as it may seem it a barrel of laughs all the way.
Would you rather cut a role from a script, or cast someone who was a poor singer and awkward actor?
LS: I would never want to cut a role from the script as all the stock characters bring something to the story for everyone to love. However, if the part wasn’t played to its extreme style then perhaps I would cut it so not to distract from the performance and break the illusion of the story coming to life on stage. Luckily we didn’t have that situation, so all the parts are left intact.
What’s the very best thing about this show?
EW: Having the “person in the chair” narrating makes it different to other musicals and adds another dimension. It also adds more comedy to the show.
RB: Definitely the person in the chair’s narration – it adds a sharper level of wit to the show – without it, the show would be completely absurd!
EW: Toledo Surprise was my favourite to choreograph and therefore is my favourite song.
RB: Definitely Show Off! That dance routine alone is worth the ticket price!
LS: I genuinely find it hard to choose my favourite song as I’ve fallen in love with then all but ‘As we stumble along’ in the finale is the perfect summary to all the emotion built up over the course of the play.
Fill in the Blank: ‘If you love ……, you’ll love ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’.
RB: If you love farce, romance, spit-takes and tales of mistaken identities, you’ll love The Drowsy Chaperone!
JR: If you love broad racial stereotypes, you’ll enjoy The Drowsy Chaperone!
All: If you love monkeys on pedestals, you’ll love The Drowsy Chaperone!
All: If you love an analytical approach in critiquing music theatre, you’ll love The Drowsy Chaperone!
The Drowsy Chaperone will be performed at The Assembly Rooms 19:30, 4th – 7th March.
Photography: Mia Apreutesei.