The Producers Review

Grand Theatre, Leeds – 8 June 2015

The musical version of Mel Brooks film The Producers arrives in Leeds this week.  Its sheer wonderful lunacy.  Irreverently disrespectful, it’s also incredibly funny

Telling the story of Max Bialystock (Cory English) and Leo Bloom (Jason Manford)  who set out to produce a sure fire flop on Broadway and they hope “Springtime for Hitler” is the show to do it for them.

I’m not a fan of ‘stunt’ casting for the sake of it but doubters need not worry that this has been ‘star’ casting for easy ticket sales –  Manford has a background in musical theatre, and treads the boards like seasoned pro. His vocal ability was extremely admirable, pleasing vibrato and with a range not often heard in untrained singers. He can sing, he can dance, he can act and his American accent was flawless.

Ross Noble’s mad-as-a fish portrayal of Franz Liebkind is a comedy billiance. His derranged eyes, love of pigeons, adoration of Hitler and maniacal disposition are hilarious.  Threatening to shoot the Musical Director (Andrew Hilton) whilst showing the correct way to perform Haben Sie Gehört Das Deutsche Band is sheer genius

But its not just the ‘names’ who shine in this show.  Cory English is the undisputed star of the show.  He wrings every considerable comic moment out of Max Bialystock, the sly old producer with a gift for romancing pensioners.  In an energy-filled tour de force performance Betrayed, in the second Act, is quite superb.

Roger De Bris, is The Worst Director in Town and playing him superbly was David Bedella. Appearing on stage for the first time looking like Shirley Bassey, camp and entertaining, David really came into his own during the second half showstopper Springtime For Hitler where he strutted, pouted and minced his way through World War 2, fantastic.

Stephane Anelli as Carmen Ghia was outrageous and Tiffany Graves as Ulla almost stole the show with her performance of If You’ve Got It Flaunt It where she managed to change bikini apparently hands free, in full view yet out of site whilst still singing!

Lee Proud’s dance routines are excellent as the cast goose-stepped and danced in their jackboots while four massive ‘sieg heil’ saluting arms being raised from the wings was ingenius.

Featuring a riotous mix of eccentric characters and the all-time classic song Springtime For Hitler, The Producers is not just a camp extravaganza but is a huge musical triumph.

In Leeds until Saturday 13th June and on tour around the UK