Sunday, May 1, 2011

Drowsy is a Can't Miss Show

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.


Jen said...

There will now also be a Thursday night performance at 7:30 on the 5th of May. Get your tickets while you can!

ICTheatreGuy said...

Thanks, Jen. I added that to the review in case people don't read the comments.


yourbestimage said...

May 2, 2011
Letters to the Editor:
Dear Sir:
The citizens of Iowa City deserve some beauty, some laughter, some comic relief. Why? Well there/s the news, there’s the weather, there’s the ….. well, you get the picture. Fortunately, this past weekend I was privileged to escape from the everyday world and, for about two hours, enter a world of laughter, music, dancing, romance (pronounced rrrrrrrrrrrromance), and slapstick or physical comedy. The Iowa City Community Theatre (ICCT) opened its final show of its 55th season, “The Drowsy Chaperone.” Set in New York City in 1928, “The Drowsy Chaperone” explores alcoholism, marriage, romance, job security --- IT’S A MUSICAL!
Not only is “The Drowsy Chaperone” a musical, it’s a musical spoof – a joke. Not a minute goes by without laughter, hilarity, chuckles, or guffaws. There’s not dry eye in the house! When the superintendent looked at the spot where the phone used to be, well I thought that my ribs would never stop aching; and when…. Never mind; this is not a synopsis of the play.
Nor is this exactly a review, because a good review critiques both story line and performance. This letter is intended to garner support for the ICCT as it begins its 56th season. People attended this weekend’s production who “never go out,” who were from Mount Vernon, who brought children, who were handicapped, etc. In other words this was a great show, appealing to all, highly entertaining, perfectly executed, flawless – well it is live theatre, one never knows what to expect!
It WAS VERY, VERY GOOD – how good? Good enough that upon urging from the public, the cast, crew, musicians, and the ICCT board of directors voted to run the show one more time. Therefore, for a rollicking good time, come to the Johnson County Fairgrounds on THURSDAY, FRIDAY, SATURDAY at 7:30 or SUNDAY at 2:00. Iowa City deserves only the very best – and here it is!

Paul VanDorpe

Andrew Arrrr Juhl said...

"Nor is this exactly a review, because a good review critiques both story line and performance."

For community productions of established shows, I try to stay away from storyline if I can help it. The local community didn't write the show or outline the plot; the best they can do is interpret it well.

That being said, this is my laziest review ever--and I'll freely admit it. I had a great time, and (aside from the mics) I had nothing bad at all to say about it.

Again, ICCT and the cast/crew ought to be damned proud.