Nicola Simonetti, our Culture editor, sits down with some members of The Drowsy Chaperone‘s cast and gives us a preview of the Just So Society‘s new musical.


 

The Drowsy Chaperone is the Just So Society‘s fall musical going up at the Byre Theatre from November 1st-3rd at 7.30pm. Curious to know a bit about the show, I sat down with Kate Kitchens (director), Grace Reid (choreographer) and Chris Miller (actor). This is what they said.

 

How/why did you get involved with Drowsy?

Kate: I proposed The Drowsy Chaperone because it is one of my favourite musicals. I love classic Broadway but I feel like a lot of people are scared of it or that they feel that it is not relatable. Drowsy gives something that is the perfect in-between step; it is a love letter to classic musicals from the Broadway of today.

Grace: I was really excited to be on board when Kate came to me with the idea in May, and I spent the summer working on the choreography for the show. In terms of dancing, it presents a challenge in order to get something that looks polished and professional, but also within the ability of the actors. It also needs to showcase their amazing talent.

Chris: Well, I turned up to auditions and the team liked me. I suppose. I hope.

What sort of themes does the musical explore?

Kate: I think the theme of entertainment is one of the main points of the musical. We want to be entertained and Drowsy addresses this above all. The story seems so simple; but it does not fail to make us laugh and even cry at points!

Grace: I think one of the most important elements of the musical is the comedy. And it has been wonderful to choreograph dances that reflect that; working with Kate to get in physical comedy as well as what comes from the script has been wonderful.

Chris: It is a spoof and homage to all of the old theatre, to the tropes, the ridiculous settings and the classic numbers.

What do you think makes the musical unique?

Kate: More than other musicals, by the nature of how it is written, with a commentator that the audience can relate to, it really understands what an audience member want to get out of a piece of theatre. ‘The Man In Chair role interacts with the audience, and have an experience with a musical that is not normally available. It becomes like watching a movie with a friend, which is so much fun!

Grace: There are  a lot of things that make the musical unique, but that would be spoilers! One of the best things I have found with the musical has been the size of the cast; it has been great to create huge dance numbers and then watch them come together over the rehearsal period.

Chris: That it is a musical inside a comedic play! The whole musical is like having the fun-fact trivia alongside what you are watching.

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Photo by Lottie Haswell-West

What is your favourite scene?

Kate: My favourite scene is the song towards the end ‘I do, I do in the sky.’ It has been one of my favourite songs from the musical before we started the production but hearing the cast sing, and how perfect all their voices are for the parts, has been one of the best moments; hearing it all coming together after imagining it for so long.

Grace: It might seem odd but my favourite scene is one where there is no music or dance at all. Instead it is just a comic exchange between two of the characters; but the strength and flamboyancy of the characters really shines through and brings out the comedy and the fun of the whole musical.

Chris: There is a song where Matthew and I tap dance. Neither of us had ever tapped before so it has been a bit of a learning curve, but (hopefully) it will be looking good! You will need to come along and let me know!

Is there anything that you want to add about Drowsy?

Kate: It is fun; it is different; it is unexpected, and I am going to sound really cheesy here, but it is familiar as well. It is comfortable and entertaining, and I think audiences will love it. I know I do!

Grace: There is roller-skating, tap dancing, spit-takes, a monkey song and a flying cane. If that does not convince you to come and see this amazing show, nothing will.

Chris: It is the best, come and watch it! Everyone involved is super-talented and it has been incredible to work alongside them all.

Tickets for the show are £8 and are available here.

 

 

Nicola Simonetti