The Producers

Date 25th May 2013
Society BANOS Musical Theatre
Venue Epsom Playhouse
Type of Production Musical
Director Chris Malone
Musical Director Lewis Gaston
Choreographer Claire Newton

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Author: Jon Fox

This was a very special production, one of the best amateur performances that I have ever seen.  In fact there was precious little that was amateur about this sparkling show at all.  The story is a real Mel Brooks corker, subversive, outrageous and gloriously non P.C.

Unusually, there are two male co-leads, both of whom were splendid in their wildly differing characters.  Theatre producer Max Bialystock, played with manic energy and confidence by John Sutherland and timid, fretful accountant Leo Bloom, all nerves and with a comfort blanket to help him face life, by Toby Jones, were the two pillars upon which  director Chris  Malone built this pacy and hilarious production.

An inadvertent remark by Leo, whilst auditing the books for Max, who is skint, that a "flop" would be financially more successful than a hit, is the central idea.   When newly emboldened Leo is finally agreeable to join Max's fraudulent scheme the real fun begins.  A mad Nazi playwrite, Franz, played with gusto by Chris Goldhawk, is hired to play Hitler in the show, Springtime for Hitler. When he breaks his leg as the show is about to begin, the camp director, beautifully portrayed by Danny Willis as Roger DeBris saves the day.  Carmen Ghia, his male but feminine boyfriend is also wonderful in the role and a host  of minor characters adorn their campness.  Springtime for Hitler, against all the odds, is a smash hit and so Max and Leo are financially ruined.

The love interest is in the form of shapely Swedish blonde bombshell Ulla, flauntingly acted by Emma Goldhawk, who seduces the lovestruck Leo and runs away with him to Rio.  They steal  the two million dollars that Max has skilfully conned out of many of New York's  little old ladies, who backed the show, in particular the delightful Hold-Me Touch-Me "outrageously" acted by Gail MacLellan.

"The Producers" is not a show where one leaves the theatre whistling all the tunes but the music in the skilful hands of Lewis Gaston was of a high order throughout.  The energetic choreography under Claire Newton who danced in the show was also much to be admired, as were the costumes and set.