Presented by Blackpool Operatic Players, 'The Producers' opened at The Grand Blackpool last night. From start to finish the production excels on a level most amateur dramatic shows do fall short of. Thoroughly entertaining continually whilst also having softer and affectionate moments, which culminates in the perfect musical.
Based on the 1968 film, Mel Brooks’s musical The Producers is a laugh-out-loud, outrageous, crowd-pleasing farce that has been a smash hit since its 2001 debut. Fading Broadway producer Max Bialystock is desperate to get to the top of his profession again, and he finds an unlikely ally in mousy accountant Leo Bloom, who hypothesizes that one could make far more money with a flop of a show than with a hit. Together, the two set out to produce the worst musical ever to hit Broadway, with the worst script, the worst director, and the worst cast they can find; the catch is that they will raise two million dollars to finance the show, and they plan to take the money and head to Rio when the show inevitably closes after just one performance. Too bad for Bialystock & Bloom that, against all odds, the show is a total hit! With dozens of big and bit parts alike, no shortage of show stopping musical numbers, and Brooks’ signature humor keeping audiences in stitches, The Producers is definitely far from a flop.
Firstly to the ensemble who really did steal the show with this performance, every single cast member on stage gave tremendous effort and enthusiasm to the show! Many of the secondary characters in fact had bigger laughs than those in leading role! - No better example as with the hilarious Joff Keelan who stole most of every scene he was a part! And to top it all of, Keelan also wowed us with his brilliant dancing ability and constant smiling. Howard Raw played the part of Max Bialystock, Raw in my opinion did the greatest interpretation of this part since Nathan Lane (Original Broadway Production). His vocal ability was astounding in this role and seemed to suit him perfectly. His farce and slapstick skills also were a terrific hit with the audience and he always sold a joke perfectly. Leo Bloom was played by the tremendous Neil Townsend, he kept his alarmed and brilliant stuttering and shaking all throughout the show, another brilliant performance. Ulla was played by the stunning Cheryl Dakin and was flawless from her entrance. Dakin worked wonderfully with the other actors and seemed very skilled with improvisation with other actors. Nigel Taylor played Roger de Bris and also fitted in well with the cast, he had a lovely voice that mixed well and his characterization of Roger was brilliant. It did seem his comedic timing wasn't as focused as the other actors but overall a good role that worked well. Carmen Ghia was played by the very talented Robert Baldock, at times his lines did seem rushed but over all had a very good comedic ability. He also had the statue and exaggerations of what all good Carmens should be! Another perfect character that surprised me in this production. Finally to the actor who not only had the audience laughing time after but also rolling down the aisle! Derek Winward played the tremendous Franz Liebkind, from the moment the audience saw him, he was a pure hit with audiences! His solo numbers were fantastic, blending a great voice with amazing and outrageous humor. For such an interesting character, Winward completely made it his own and wouldn't be out of place in a professional production I am sure.
The Producers is hilarious from overture to curtain and all leads and ensemble entertain like the professionals they are. From Nazi Tappers to Nuns, Prostitiutes to Follies and Show Girls to convicts all members of BOP give this show 100% dedication and enthusiasm.
Reviewer: Brad Wilson
Reviewed: 13th April 2016