Wednesday, June 6, 2012

                           VINTAGE THEATRE 
            As directed by Carol Petitmaire, Vintage Theatre’s “The Drowsy Chaperone” is an utterly delightful and totally hilarious camp riot. It’s an homage to - and parody of - those great old “Vintage” musicals (get it?) of yesteryear.

           In this show a Gay man fights off the blues by revisiting one of his favorite old musicals that he’s rediscovered while going through his records – “Yes! Records!” This character is referred to as “Man in Chair.” More than a narrator, this character becomes the audience’s best buddy as he describes each musical number, the show’s faults and highlights as well as the real lives of the actors who played the campy roles. This character is onstage almost all evening.

     Paul Page plays this man in chair brilliantly with a wide-eyed sense of wonder that is edged with poignant sensitivity. As he listens to the record, informing the audience about every esoteric bit of trivia regarding this show, he draws us in with his infectious love for musical theatre. We as audience fall in love with him while simultaneously being dazzled as this musical from the 1920s comes to life in his apartment.

     The plot of the show involves a young couple attempting to get married. The subplot involves a harried producer who is trying to evade some mobsters posing as pastry chefs who are unhappy about the soon-to-be bride’s leaving the Follies to get married.

     All of the characters in this play are theatrical archetypes of the musical theatre of yesteryear.

     Rachel Turner’s superb rendition of “I Don’t Want to Show Off No More “ has Janet VandeGraaff, the bride-to-be, doing cartwheels and handstands and various other tricks that have to be seen to be believed.

     In “An Accident Waiting to Happen,” the groom, played by Steffan Scrogan, does a lyrical tour of the stage on roller skates while blindfolded.

     One is overjoyed to see the return to the stage of Jimmy Miller in the role of the best man, George.

     The theatre producer, Ƒeldzig is a bigger than life mogul played even bigger than bigger than life by Brian Murray. This is Murray’s best and funniest work to date.

     Leigh Ann Gould performs the part of Kitty, the squeaky chorus girl who hopes to replace Janet in Feldzig’s show. Her very fun performance will very definitely bring up memories of the family known as “The Louds” on “Saturday Night Live”.

     Jodi Brinkman’s comic take on the title character performs “As We Stumble Along,” an hilarious ode to alcoholism, with a song in her heart, an onion in her Gibson and hilarious brio. Ms.Brinkman’s costume by Mr. Craig Bond is an homage to velvet theatre curtains with that sturdy gold fringe so prevalent in the golden age of musicals. As the Chaperone Ms. Brinkman’s superb acting gives us an enormously engaging and escalating ego, which keeps upstaging the bride until she (the bride) is finally pushed right offstage. Brava!

     David Ambroson’s portrayal of the Latin Lothario, Aldolpho, is one of the most intentionally hysterical over-the-top performances of the evening. It’s hard to decide whether you like laughing hysterically at his “My Name It Is Aldolpho” or his performance in the eye-popping overblown and insulting Oriental number, “Message From a Nightingale” at the top of Act Two. Both are inimitably brilliant in the acting.
     One must again mention Mr. Craig Bond for his outstanding costuming of Mr. Ambroson and the others in this scene. The overblown ornamental haberdashery Bond created for Ambroson’s emperor at this juncture in the proceedings is outrageously well done. 
     Deborah Persoff brilliantly portrays the dreamily scatterbrained Mrs. Tottendale with an exuberant  ‘second childhood’-like abandon. Her version of “Love is Always Lovely in the End,” is a wide-eyed vacuous homage to ‘senior moments’ that’s a panic. This actor’s portrayal of this dotty dowager gives us a very early shirt tail ancestor of Sister Amnesia in the “Nunsense” series. Dame Persoff and her employee, Underling (played superbly by Richard A. Cowden) really nail the archetypes.  Who knew Dame Persoff could play the ukelele?

     There is superb musical direction by Mitch Samu.
     Becca Jacobson’s choreography amazes.

                       Not to be missed!

"The Drowsy Chaperone"
June 1 - July 8
Fri/Sat at 7:30 p.m.; Sun at 2:30 p.m.
Fri/Sat $31; Sun $25 
303-856-7830 or online at
NEW Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora 80010
**Please note new location!

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