Critique: The Drowsy Chaperone


Natalie Maloy

It was 8 pm on November 12, 2019. The beginning of Act 1. The lights go out. The entire audience is waiting for the show to begin. But then we see as one light fades out one stays lit to the side. Then loud and clear we hear, “I. Hate. Theater!”- The man in the chair. Extremely ironic as he was sitting through a theater show. Of course, that was the point. He continues to complain and the audience continues to laugh at every joke. Thus starting us on the overwhelming strong comedic start to the show.

At first, I was not impressed with the acting. Especially the first two characters talking about the show. They seemed way to fake in expression. It made me cringe a bit. The confused look on my face distracted my concentration on the show. Although when the show began, better actors came through and I was no longer uncomfortable. Maybe it is because I truly did not understand the goal or concept of the show until I really analyzed it.

The goal of this performance was to portray an asocial musical theater fan. He plays the record of a fictional musical, The Drowsy Chaperone. As he tells the story of the musical it comes to life on stage. The man in the chair is trying to overcome his non-specific sadness by listening to this record. He dances away from his problems with his favorite songs. Watching from his armchair, Man in Chair is torn between his desire to absorb every moment of the show as it unfolds and his need to insert his personal footnotes and his extensive knowledge of the musical performances and actors, as he frequently brings the audience in and out of the fantasy.

The concept of the play was to leave the audience thinking how influential a play can be on a person. At least that is what I left thinking. The Man in the chair was filled with excitement when explaining the plot to the audience. He described it as he has never been able to express his feelings before. His chair was his life but when the record started to play he got up from that sunk-in chair and danced. It was no longer and non- specific sadness, it was unspeakable happiness.

The scenic design of the play was not that colorful but fit the fantasy of the Man in the chair. The faded colors indicated his fading fantasy. What confused me was how in the world those characters got up to the top part of the set so fast. Did they jump 5 stairs at a time?

The chair for The Man in the chair was perfectly placed on stage in its own little corner. It emphasized the idea that he spent his life in that chair. He had a nightstand on each side filled with essentials so he didn’t have to get up. The good type of lazy in my opinion.

Costumes were simple but cute. The girls’ tassel dresses really had my memories in a throwback. I remember taking old-time photos at fantasy island in those dresses. The excessive makeup fit the times, rosy cheeks, unlined lips, and curly hair.

Laughter. Pure laughter the entire musical. Was it confusing at times? Yes. Did I care? No. Still can’t stop laughing at, “That’s pure vodka you poop!” (Spits out vodka) Bravo!