Thursday, 12 March 2015

THE PRODUCERS by Musicality
Nottingham Arts Theatre​

The final song advises that if we enjoyed the show to tell all of our friends,,, so here goes! Following on from last year's amazing success with "The Phantom Of The Opera", this is completely different and allows the cast to have a bit of fun with the music and story.

Mel Brooks' musical comedy about a Broadway producer, Max Bialystock who hires an accountant, Leo Bloom to "cook the books" for him and ends up taking his advice on producing a "sure fit miss" to become rich. They team up and choose what they feel will be the worst Broadway musical in "Springtime For Hitler", written by a certain Franz Leibkind. They get him to give his permission to produce the musical and then take it to gay director Roger De Bris, and his "common law-assistant", Carmen, who finally agrees to direct the musical. They are now assured that with the worst musical, the worst producer and the worst director this will be the biggest flop and they will get their two million pay day. Oh how wrong they were!

Musicality have an over abundance of talented singers, dancers, actors and theatre folk and this is oh so obvious, yet again, in this wonderfully camp production.

Max is played by Ben Standish. Ben has a very natural acting ability about him and has such a strong, and easy singing voice to listen to. Ben performed some of the really tricky and lengthy vocal bits of songs like "Betrayed" with great dexterity which was really appreciated by the audience. A wonderful character actor. He is by no means alone here either.

Leo Bloom, the nervous accountant and wannabe director is portrayed by Oliver Smith. His panic attack near the start of the show is an absolute magical piece of theatre comedy with his baby blue comfort blanket, showing his "immature" side, which he soon grows out of when leggy actress Ulla turns up for her audition.

What can I say about Olivia Ford who plays Ulla, or to give her her full title, Ulla Inga Hansen Benson Yansen Tallen Hallen Svaden Swanson? Gorgeous and long legged with that classic Monroe-esque dress, and that Polish accent. Who wouldn't fall for her? Olivia has a lovely powerful voice with a nice tone of light and shade which is shown off really well in Ulla's songs.

Alex Huntley as Franz, the manic German with a love of pigeons has a wonderful array of facial expressions, which is particularly useful in his big number"Der Guten Tag Hop Clop"

Leo is a touch on the camp side but he is positively macho compared with Roger de Bris ( Rob Reed ) and Carmen ( Luke Emery ). I get the feeling that both Rob and Luke really enjoyed getting in touch with their camp side because they really played up to the limp wristed stereo typical gay character, which is where the majority of the humour is rooted in "The Producers", and between the two of them, and their camp entourage wring every bit of campness from the script.

Luke has a dual role as he is also the choreographer, and he does an excellent job in this role. He could have been born to dance as he started dancing from the age of  ten years old. Luke was also responsible for the choreography for last year's smash production.

Directed by Jonathan Walker and produced by Abby Hughes​, these two deliver an amazingly enjoyable, fast moving production which the audience lapped up greedily.

Musically the show was under the direction of Jacob Lloyd and a lovely sound the band, nay orchestra made. well there were 23 musicians, so this must qualify for that status. The music production was also spot on, the clarity of the music mix ensured that not one word was swamped by the orchestra.

Tight dance and chorus ensemble supported all the major sections and a quick turn around of scene setting ensured that the action rolled along nicely. The show is like a jigsaw because the whole cast completed this entertaining show and if one piece was out, then the picture overall would not be quite right, but all the pieces were well and truly in place. I was quite surprised that from start to end this production weighed in at about 165 minutes with the interval. It really did not seem to be that length!

Worthy of any professional show, it is sometimes forgotten that Musicality is an amateur University production because of the very high standard of shows like these, and the only thing I felt which could have bettered last night's show was to have had the theatre full. Not a bad showing but more people need to support the hard work that amateur theatre in general produce.

Go on, have a great night out and a really good laugh and pop down to the Nottingham Arts Theatre and see "The Producers" which ends on Saturday 14 March 2015. Yet another wonderful production from some incredibly talented people,

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