When you think about the most random humour, the one that features an array of ridiculous characters in a musical (including, just maybe…Hitler), what comes to mind? If your first answer is Taika Waititi’s “Jojo Rabbit”, you’re on the right track, but you’ve got to watch “The Producers” to fully understand what I mean.
The play is such a bomb of random humour, catchy songs, and a brilliantly written story.
The movie (released in 1969) which told the original story of “The Producers” is still a classic and holds 96% on Metacritic and 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. It also received an Academy Award for writing. I will be frank: I haven’t seen the movie or its 2005 version, but I jumped on youtube to educate myself on these more, as I was getting home from the performance. So bear with me, I’m still pretty new at this.
Here’s “The Producers” synopsis in a nutshell:
An ambitious Broadway producer and a mild-mannered accountant plan to pull off the biggest flop in history, bilking their modest and poor backers out of millions of dollars. Only one thing goes awry: the show is a smash hit!
Leo Bloom and Max Bialystock, all but manage to instill a sense of fecklessness in their unrestrained antics as they fumble their way through finding a show (“Springtime for Hitler”), hiring a director, raising the money, and then going to prison for their misdeeds, are lessons in broad comic construction. Despite its extreme comedy, the adventure is a trip about a friendship between two very different men.
The show at the Bridewell Theatre:
The humour of the story is… just right on point for me! It’s weird, it’s a black comedy with some satire and puns thrown into it. Being Polish, it cracks me up that someone used Bialystok (name of a city in Poland, not related to anything Jewish) as a surname. Also, it’s just fun to hear how people try to pronounce it 😉
The Studio Company filled up the stage with so much energy, I didn’t even know it was possible. I could feel that the actors are truly enjoying being on stage and spending time with each other – it’s rare to feel something like this! (last time I got this vibe was when I saw Zorro at Charing Cross theatre – which I highly recommend watching before it closes soon).
Dom Conte as Max Bialystock just owns the stage – he has this fantastic presence that draws attention – and wow, the voice! Partnering with him is Ricky Hutchinson as Leo Bloom – who starts a little bit on more of a quiet side, and develops his presence during the play, until the final songs “Til Him” and “Leo and Max” showcase his true energy.
I just have to praise the whole ensemble for their well-performed dance performances and quick outfit changes, it all just created a truly magical experience for the audience. Also – the costumes. From my quick youtube research (very pro, you see), it looks like the outfits were almost 100% the same as in the movie version – and that’s impressive taking into the account complex costumes like the food-inspired gowns during “Springtime for Hitler” and tons of granny outfits, complete with walkers.
It’s not a perfect show – there were some minor issues with the sound and microphones, but as it was the opening night, things like these just happen. I would still give the show 5/5 – I haven’t laughed so much for long! If you ask me – it’s funnier than the “Book of Mormon” 🙂
I’m looking forward to seeing more Company Studio productions in the future!
Directed by: Victoria Gimby
Musical Director: Benjamin Levy
Choreographer: Philip Michael Thomas
Ticket price: £20
23-28 May 2022
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