“We’re gonna be the producers of a great big Broadway flop”
If you’re not a fan of schmaltzy musicals where the lead dances into the sunset or bursts into song whilst hanging off a lamppost then The Producers is definitely for you. Full of politically uncorrect lyrics and sexual innuendo the Mel Brooks penned production has shock value in buckets and hilarity in equal measures.
The current UK tour plays at Manchester’s Palace Theatre till 21st March and is guaranteed to have you in stitches from start to finish. Salford born comedian Jason Manford stars as timid and shy accountant Leo Bloom, whose dreams of one day becoming a producer come true when he meets Broadway veteran Max Bialystock (Cory English). Together the duo hatch a plan to stage the biggest flop ever seen so they can make a huge profit as a result.
Manford truly shines here and, despite having previously sung with Alfie Boe and starred in the tour of Sweeney Todd alongside musical stalwarts Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton, manages to surprise and impress the audience with a fabulous voice that is a delight to hear.
In fact there’s a few more pleasant surprises – one being the irrepressible Louie Spence who has found his perfect role in camper than camp Directors assistant Carmen Ghia. Spence too has found his voice and inner acting talent proving he is more than his trademark lisp and pirouetting. This UK tour of The Producers certainly delivers on the ‘names’ front, with stand up comic Phil Jupitus completing the enviable line up as Hitler loving lyricist Franz Liebkind. Jupitus is genius, creating a larger than life character with comic timing that brings the house down and a damn good German accent to boot!
Whilst it’s the stars who get the big cheers, the rest of the energetic ensemble which includes West End’s finest; David Baddella (Roger De Bris), Tiffany Graves (Ulla) and Cory English (Max Bialystock) give them a run for their money throughout, making it hard to pin point a favourite.
Director Matthew White has let his cast use every Mel Brooks gag to full extent and in doing so has produced a pacy and slick version of the award-winning film and Tony winning musical. Watch out for the denture wearing dancing grannies and sparkly swastikas (I took you it wasn’t PC) along with show stealing number ‘Betrayed’ where English manages to sing so many lyrics its breathtaking!
There’s not may shows out there that I would go see for a second or third viewing but this one I would make an exception. If you can get a ticket then grab it with both hands, it’s only here in Manchester till Saturday and it is definitely worth it’s weight in gold.
The Producers, Manchester Palace
Mon 16 – Sat 21 March