by Andrew Juhl
Iowa City - This review is going to be short and sweet: go see The Drowsy Chaperone. Go online, and get your tickets now if you can; don’t trust that there will be seats available if you just show up, because once word gets out about how good this show is, there very well might not be.
No, I’m not even going to bother with a summary of the premise. You don’t know what it’s about? You don’t need to. It’s funny, and it’s well done by ICCT. If you really care so much, look it up elsewhere, but I can guarantee you right here and now that if you like theatre, musicals, comedy, dancing, singing, laughing OR getting a good deal for your money, then you will like this show. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Of all local community theatre productions I’ve been to in the last few years, this production ranks as one my absolute favorites.
Literally everyone in the cast, from the major players to the ensemble, does a fantastic job. Actors CJ Jones and Adam Kopfman deserve resounding applause for their song “Cold Feets,” of which I wish not to discuss further for fear of ruining the surprise for first-timers. And a tip-of-the-hat to Rob Keech (“Adolpho”) is also warranted. Keech is an absolute scene-stealer, and the one character in the show where every audience member will perk up in their seats with delight the second he rejoins the stage.
I absolutely have to single out Dustin Sorrell, however, who does an amazing job as the narrator/main character of the show. Mr. Sorrell’s timing and delivery were impeccable, and if you’re anything like me, by the end of the show you’ll want nothing less than to take his swishy fop-top awesomeness home with you for leftovers in the morning.
This production also contains the single best lighting design and sound effects I have seen in any ICCT production I have ever attended. The set is also impressively designed—one of the most complex and sophisticated I have witnessed in a community theatre production. There will be times where you’ll see someone make an entrance and marvel at the ingenuity of the design.
The one low point of opening night was the numerous mic problems experienced by the cast and crew. The hot mics, feedback, and cut-off voices really took me out of the show. I have faith that ICCT and the cast and crew will be spending some extra time for the coming shows working on this singular problem with the production.
Director and Music Director Ben Bentler should be proud. Choreographer Jill Beardsley should be, as well. They have done a wonderful, stunning job with this show. I can only assume it was a labor of love, and that hard work definitely shows.
The Drowsy Chaperone runs through the 8th, with Thursday, Friday and Saturday night shows at 7:30, Sunday matinees at 2:00. Do yourself, your community theatre volunteers, and your diaphragm a good turn: go and see it.