Phoenix Theatre: BackstagePASS
|Fall 2018 • Act 12 Scene 4|
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The Drowsy Chaperone held over for 1 day!
RUN SOLD OUT! NEW SHOW ADDED: Sunday, November 25, 2pm
The response to our wonderful production of The Drowsy Chaperone, directed by Jacques Lemay, has been fantastic! From audience members to reviewers, this show is being called "among the Phoenix's best work." Here's a roundup of what the media are saying:
Highlights from review by Adrian Chamberlain
"... Lemay takes full rein as director and choreographer — and the results are even more stunning. This is one of the best shows staged by the university’s theatre department in recent years and should not be missed."
"The lights come up on the nebbish, theatre-obsessed Man in the Chair. Portrayed by [Doug] Peerless as unrelentingly nervy, energetic and affable, he plays a record of a fictitious 1928 musical called The Drowsy Chaperone.... He interrupts the proceedings regularly to narrate, offering criticisms and bon mots, elsewhere paying rapt attention like a delighted child at the circus. ... the likeable Peerless delivered a confident, engaging performance notable for his skilled comic timing."
"Many clichés of 20th-century musical theatre are trotted out: the fiery Latin lover (the strong Nicholas Atkinson, who’s adept with the comic hip thrust), Guys and Dolls-style gangsters, a long-suffering butler (played by Ciaran Volke with admirably clipped precision), a ditzy girlfriend (Ashley Richter, who’s also solid in the role)... There’s even an over-the-top special effect to cap the proceedings... a spectacularly successful bit of stage business that’s a credit to set designer Bryan Kenney and his team.... One potentially tricky aspect of the show is the back-and-forth shift in tone between bubbly musical and the Man in the Chair’s sardonic narration....Lemay’s direction makes it all crystal clear; the deft lighting [by Patrick Du Wors] especially helps."
"...everything about this elegant, detailed production works well: the excellent costumes, set, acting, dancing, choreography... It’s terribly ambitious...What strikes me most is how beautifully rehearsed this show is...The result is a truly superior piece of theatre that will undoubtedly be a highlight of the season."
Highlights from review by Sheila Martindale
"Sometimes you just want to forget about politics, the state of the environment and other troublesome daily matters, and sit back to enjoy a bit of silly fluff. If this is your state of mind, The Drowsy Chaperone at the University of Victoria Phoenix Theatre is exactly what you need. With minimal plot, unlikely romantic situations and dynamic singing and dancing, this musical play is just the ticket to chase away the November blues."
"Bryan Kenney’s set is clever, starting with a tiny apartment kitchen, which folds away to reveal a spacious interior where most of the action takes place. Graham McMonagle’s costumes are very 1920s and a bit over the top – exactly right for the tone of the piece. Nancy Curry must be commended for her splendid music direction, while Jacques Lemay is the overall director and choreographer. ...Douglas Peerless is the Man in the Chair, or the Narrator, and he is irrepressibly enthusiastic and very cute...Kudos to all."
Highlights from review by Katy Weicker
"...The star of this show, in many ways, is the complex stage... There are several moving pieces to the set [designed by Bryan Kenney], including a large prop that will make any musical theatre buff nostalgic for Miss Saigon..."
"The over-the-top performance style of the actors... I found incredibly entertaining... in particular, Justin Francis Lee’s George, Rahat Saini’s Drowsy Chaperone, and Nicholas Atkinson’s Aldolpho. While most of the actors managed to steal the spotlight at one point or another with their shenanigans and hijinx, the consistent shining light in the performance was Douglas Peerless, our fourth-wall-breaking narrator, a character lovingly referred to as “Man in Chair.” Peerless is complex and nuanced, causing the audience to laugh out loud one moment and fight back tears alongside him the next. His raw, modern-day realness as the only major character outside the musical gives the perfect contrast to the show-stopping energy of The Drowsy Chaperone."
"...the Phoenix Theatre should be commended for tackling such an ambitious project. It’s clearly a huge undertaking ... They nailed the razzle-dazzle, the quick-change costumes and sets, and the comedic timing of an old-time musical, while giving a real person for the audience to connect with in Peerless’ Man in Chair."
Highlights from review by Tony Carter
"While the effort and skill that went into this production is clear from everyone involved, special praise is owed to Douglas Peerless, who plays the Man in the Chair ... There are moments where he will stop the action on a dime to comment on the scene or to exposit on the actor who historically played the role of that character. These stops are pulled off by everyone on stage with such fluidity that they never negatively impact the flow of a scene, and only serve to enhance the comedy."
"For every bit of character work that Peerless deserves praise for, the actors who populate the diegetic musical deserve just as much for their physicality... from Ted Angelo Ngkaion’s blindfolded roller skating to Alison Robert’s show-stopper stage routine, to Rahat Saini’s incredible vocals all live up to the Broadway tradition..."
“The Drowsy Chaperone” has no bad performances. It is a Broadway classic brought to life by an amazing set design and a talented cast and crew."
Highligths from review by Adam Bach
"The Phoenix Theatre’s production of The Drowsy Chaperone is a grand spectacle done through the parody of classical musical tropes..."
"Character actors are required for such a witty and quick script. Luckily, the director Jacques Lemay seems to have a large call sheet of such persons. Honourable mentions include Aaron Smail and David Cosbey — they earn their laughs not just through physical comedy and choice accents, but by (smartly) playing opposites to each other’s size and vocal range. Another honourable mention goes to Ciaran Volke. Though his role has the least amount of jokes built directly into the script, he has everyone (but himself) giggling the whole show."
"The ensemble works together to command the stage, thrilling the audience with comedy and a wholesome undertone. Several numbers beg standing ovations in and of themselves."
THE DROWSY CHAPERONE
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Thank you to the Phoenix Theatre's many individual donors and corporate sponsors for their support of our programs and talented students!
Thanks also to our supporters over the past year from the Cadboro Bay Village Business Association including: For Good Measure, Pepper's Foods, Smugglers' Cove Pub, Caddy Bay Liquor Store, and Heart Pharmacy.
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