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The Producers, Theatre Royal Glasgow, 15th - 20th June 2015

Published by: Jon Cuthbertson on 16th Jun 2015 | View all blogs by Jon Cuthbertson

Mel Brooks’ cult film made a splash when it was first turned into a musical, winning 12 Tony awards and 3 Oliviers. However, that pedigree seemed to be lacking when we saw the curtain rise on a set that looked like it had been borrowed from West Side Story.

 

This seemed like The Producers on a budget (ironic considering the subject matter of the show) and it looks like the money has been spent on booking the big names in the cast as opposed to providing them a set worthy of the show. There were however redeeming features. Cory English as Max Bialystock provides a star turn in a role that was described by its originator (Tony award winning Nathan Lane) as “This part wasn't written with a human being in mind - at least not a human being who has to perform it eight times a week." due to the stamina and energy required for the role. Mr English has comic timing, nimble feet and great vocal control all wrapped in his deceptively round and diminutive package. Following his story as formerly successful producer, now suffering from a major flop, we then meet Jason Manford, as nervy accountant and wannabe producer Leo Bloom. Mr Manford did surprise me with his vocal ability – it was much better than I expected from someone with no training, however I would rather have just seen the role performed by someone better suited and able. The lack of dancing ability limited the options for certain sections of the show that could have helped add in some of the spectacle that we were missing in the set design.

 

To put some magic back into the show, a few nice touches have been added to freshen up this production and Tiffany Graves’ continual (and at sometimes seemingly impossible) costume changes is one that worked extremely well – except we’d ran out of money by the bows and she was back re-using an earlier costume! Producers – grab some money from the little old lady investors and buy her a nice dress for the end – please! Ms Graves’ introduction as her character Ulla is a great vehicle to show off her voice and dancing skills – I was out of breath just watching the cartwheels and high kicks, never mind thinking about trying to sing too.

 

I have always been a big fan of David Bedella, performing here as director Roger De Bris, however he was beautifully upstaged by his co-star Stephane Anelli as his ultra-camp assistant Carmen Ghia. A hard working ensemble (particularly Jay Webb) try their best to bring this show to life, but without the set pieces (in particular the ceiling mirror to allow the iconic dance section in “Springtime For Hitler”) to back them up, it all seems a little tired. Perhaps the Producers here needed to find a few more of those little old lady investors to help pay for the set and production values that this show needs.

 

 

Listing Information

 

Mon 15 – Sat 20 Jun                 

Evenings: 7.30pm                                            

Matinees: Thu & Sat at 2.30pm

www.atgtickets.com/glasgow (booking fee)

 

0844 871 7647 (booking fee)

 

photo credit Manuel Harlan

Comments

1 Comment

  • Cameron Lowe
    by Cameron Lowe 2 years ago
    Thanks for this review, Jon. I can understand your disappointment. ... I've seen an amateur production with a better set than you have described here. It's not just a "nice to have" it delivers a great deal of the irony of the material when "Springtime For Hitler" is delivered in glitzy camp style.
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