17-21 March 2015
Reviewed by Karen Crielly
Getting to the Palace Theatre in Manchester is relatively simple, either by public transport or car, a vast number of buses stop on Oxford Road, also the nearest train station is Oxford Road which is diagonally across from theatre and parking is plentiful.
The theatre has an old fashioned elegance and I always think it feels quite grand and opulent, all plush heavy velvets and gold leaf, staff were fabulous, but as is typical of this style of theatre, there was a bit of stampede to get through the tiny doors to each seating section, but once thru all calmed down again and we were directed quickly and efficiently to our seats. We pre ordered our intermission drinks but there were no real queues at the bars and everyone seemed to be served really quickly.
We took our seats (K33/34 stalls) and had a great view of the stage. Curtain up and the show began, unfortunately due to a minor hiccup they had to interrupt the show for a few minutes to change Jason Manford’s mic but this didn’t affect the performance or our enjoyment of the show.
The Producers is about the unsuccessful Broadway producer Max Bailystock (Cory English) teaming up with timid accountant Leo Bloom (Jason Manford) to find and produce the biggest flop ever seen on Broadway and make the producers a profit using a little of Leo’s bookkeeping know how! This plan comes about after an off the cuff remark from Leo while doing Max’s books after his latest offering “Hamlet the Musical” closes on first night, but still manages to makes a profit that Max wants Leo to hide.
The song and dance routines are just fantastic; some of the connotations of the jokes were less than politically correct which made them even funnier for me. Ladies I strongly advise waterproof mascara and tissues for the tears of laughter. This show is simply hilarious, as camp as Christmas with as much sparkle.
Jason Manford as the timid and unassuming accountant Leo Bloom, slightly stiff and awkward around people, loved his “you’re too close” scene when you first see his “Blue Blanket”. He has a really good singing voice and managed a reasonable American accent too. As always his comic timing was brilliant.
Cory English as Max Bailystock the had his day producer was simply brilliant, for me the “betrayed” scene where he runs through the complete show to that point intermission included was breathtakingly funny. I also loved the “here comes Bailey” scene to where all his “investors” arrive, nothing funnier than seeing little old ladies dancing round with drip stands and walking sticks ,then realising some of them are actually the male dancers in drag.
Phil Jupitus as the mad Nazi Franz Leibkind author of “Springtime for Hitler” and pigeon man, was outstanding, I was quite surprised as to how well Phil could sing especially while trying to do so with a German accent. He was hilariously funny with his “’Haben Sie Gehort Das Deutsche Band” routine.
David Bedella as Roger De Bris, the perfectly fabulous director, who through a serious of misfortunes eventually has to play the leading man Hitler in “Springtime for Hitler” and his opening scene “Heil myself” had me snorting with laughter.
Louie Spence as Carmen Ghai, well what can I say about the high kicking, sequin wearing, common law assistant to Roger, he was spectacularly camp as always, was sorry he did not have more dance scenes but he was fantastic dahhhling…
Last but in no way least is Tiffany Grace as Ulla “That Face” gave us a superb “When you’ve got it flaunt it” audition piece where Leo falls in love with her. She is fabulous in all her Svedish ways..
As for the rest of the cast who high kicked, sung, danced, and finally goosed stepped and saluted their way through the whole show, They all played multiple characters, from little old ladies, chorus girls, and almost the whole cast of the village people, each character change was done seamlessly and professionally.
I am certain this is the kind of show that every time you see it you see something you missed in a previous viewing. Would gladly go back and watch again and again.
Very definitely 5 out of 5.
Tickets cost from £17.90 to £48.90 (plus £4 transaction fee).
The Producers is at the Palace Theatre in Manchester until 21 March 2015. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0844 871 3019.
Palace Theatre, 97 Oxford Street, Manchester, M1 6FT | 0844 871 3019