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The Producers Family Review, Bristol Hippodrome

THE PRODUCERS

BRISTOL HIPPODROME

The Bristol Hippodrome

Monday 27th April – Saturday 2nd May 2015

Based on Mel Brooks’ Academy Award winning movie, The Producers musical comedy has won a record-breaking 12 Tony Awards and 3 Olivier Awards.

Producers Family Review

Impoverished by a string of flops, New York producer Max Bialystock recruits accountant Leo Bloom to help him pull off Broadway’s greatest scam. Together they aim to produce the worst show in history and run away to Rio with millions, but they learn that show business can always find a way to kick you in the teeth.

This is a cheeky, unpredictable musical comedy featuring an interesting mix of eccentric characters.

LEO BLOOM

Renowned UK comedian, JASON MANFORD, plays the ungainly nervous wreck of an accountant who agrees to be part of a creative accounting scam in the hope of realising his dream of becoming a Broadway producer. As a downtrodden accountant, his timid speaking voice is reminiscent of a feeble, questioning Dorothy straight from Oz, but once he decides to take charge of his destiny and starts singing, the strong voice which emerges is quite a surprise. Frankly, I’m not expecting to like him so much but, not only does he hold his own against these award winning seasoned theatre performers but he claims the stage with the complete comedy, acting, dancing and singing package.

MAX

Broadway and West End star CORY ENGLISH plays MAX BIALYSTOCK, once the biggest name in showbiz (well his name does have 13 letters!). The curtain has barely risen and it’s already clear from pockets of raucous laughter dotted around the auditorium that the saucy humour is being well received. I wince and wonder how wise it was to bring my nine year old son, as Max reluctantly agrees to play “The virgin milk maid and the well hung stable boy” with one of his string of elderly lady investors. I’m relieved we never get to meet his preferred companion, “Yank me, spank me”!

In one of my favourite scenes, Max recaps the whole show in song, sitting on a toilet in his prison cell. Reading this back, I can’t believe I’ve just written that previous sentence but believe me, it is a clever and very well done.

ROGER DE BRIS

Flamboyant director Roger De Bris is chosen by Max Bialystock in an attempt to ensure ‘Springtime for Hitler’ is a flop. Olivier Award winning actor DAVID BEDELLA lights up the stage with his all singing, all dancing, grinning, mincing version of Hitler during the show-within-the-show.

ULLA

West End leading lady TIFFANY GRAVES knows just how to grab the attention of the “producers”, flaunting an amazing figure during her funny striptease/audition. As if she hasn’t already done enough to win them over she then offers, in her OTT Swedish accent, to “tidy oop” Max’s cluttered room. She’s funny, beautiful, has a great voice and is domestically accomplished. Jealous? Why ever would I be?!

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FRANZ LIEBKIND

Phill Jupitus is the short fused, carrier pigeon keeping, former Nazi, brought on board by Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom to help them in their plot to put on the worst musical of all time. Having previously only seen him on television, I am impressed with his comic timing and stage presence. My sister and I particularly enjoy the ridiculous dance routine he forces the producers to perform before he grants them the rights to use his terrible play. 

CARMEN GHIA

Many will disagree with me I’m sure, but I’m afraid I don’t really ‘get’ the appeal of LOUIE SPENCE as the flamboyant assistant. As a renowned dancer and choreographer, he doesn’t really dance a great deal, his diction isn’t easy to decipher and I cringe when I hear that predictable line, “walk this way”. He does mince awfully well though.

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SHOW WITHIN A SHOW

Against all the odds, the show proves to be a great success. The glitziest red and gold curtains rise to reveal the set of “Spring time in Germany”. Somehow giant Swasticas have very little menace amongst the shiny, glittery set, sparkly and sexy German uniforms. Lines like “Don’t be stupid, be a smarty. Come and join the nazi party.” are met with such raucous laughter that it sounds canned.

AGE SUITABILITY

As my eleven year old is just approaching the dreaded year six SATS week, he bowed out from coming this time. We knew the language and sexual innuendo were likely to be rather mature for children and had discussed this with my nine year old beforehand but he was still keen to come. He enjoyed the parts he understood but only got the point of the show within a show only after I whispered a hasty recap about Hitler in his ear.
I think the adult themes would have also been beyond my eleven year old and would suggest The Producers is suitable for an age group of around 13+.
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THE VERDICT?

The show’s filled with fabulous costumes, glamorous dancing girls, great comedy and an incredible live band.

It’s a very gay production – and I don’t mean in that charming old fashioned way our parents used the word. It’s massively camp, funny and quite bonkers. Outfits in the Keep it Gay scene include a seriously flamboyant paisley shirt, a tight purple wrestler suit with a very unsubtle protrusion in the trouser department and a sparkly designer dress and tiara for Roger de Bris, the director. It really isn’t too much of a surprise when a Cherokee Indian and young Dorothy herself appear!

The Producers is one of those shows where you can’t pick just one obvious star – there are some great performances from this energetic cast, which I was surprised to discover was only twenty strong. Our own group had varied reactions.

My sister found it “Fun and uplifting”. She particularly enjoyed Ulla’s singing and dance routine, Jason’s singing voice, Phil’s acting and the dance routine which made her smile.
My eight year old enjoyed says
“It’s better for adults than children because of the bad language. I still enjoyed it though.”

I took me a little while to get into the show but once I did, I thoroughly enjoyed it, so much so that it made me laugh out loud, in public, which I don’t often do.

 

The Producers runs at The Bristol Hippodrome for one week only from the 27 April – 2nd May.

THE PRODUCERS

Monday 27th April – Saturday 2nd May

Evenings at 7.30 pm

Matinees on Wed & Sat at 2.30 pm

Tickets: £17.90 – £48.90

Concessions available at certain performances

www.theproducersmusical.co.uk

 

 

ENJOYED MY PRODUCERS FAMILY REVIEW? THEN WHY NOT CHECK OUT OTHER SHOW REVIEWS ON PRACTICALLY PERFECT MUMS?

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Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake

Robin Cousins’ ICE

Dirty Dancing

West Side Story

Happy Days

Evita

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DISCLOSURE: WE RECEIVED TICKETS FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS REVIEW.  ALL OPINIONS ARE MY/OUR OWN.

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