23rd March 2018
Type of Production
Author: Tessa Davies
I was intrigued to see how Billericay Operatic Society would manage to perform the show in such an intimate venue. The answer is very well indeed! Having only seen The Producers in large theatres before, with lavish sets, it was an eye opener, for me, to see that it could be done on a smaller scale. Whilst it was impractical to do the large, showpiece, dances that were in the original show, choreographer Jane Granby did create the effect that was required of the script.
Max Bialystock was played by Wayne Carpenter who also produced and directed the show. Wayne is able to turn his skills to almost any part and this was no exception, a well portrayed character. Leo Bloom was played by Matthew Carpenter and he is turning out to be a chip off the old block! A very assured performance, with excellent characterisation. Jeff Stillman played the closet Nazi Franz Liebkind very well, a great comedy performance with some excellent timing. Roger de Bris was well played by Niels Bradley and his aide de camp, Carmen Ghia, was played by Nik Graham, both characters wonderfully over the top.
Anna Dunn was excellent as Ulla Inga Hansen Benson Yonsen Tallen-Hallen Svaden-Svanson and thank goodness I only had to write that once! The three main Angels; Gail Carpenter (Hold Me, Touch Me) Margaret Garnett (Kiss Me, Feel Me) and Jane Martin (Lick Me, Bite Me) were all good.
The other parts were played well, and I loved the gang of four, Mark Clements (Bryan) Jon Keeler (Kevin) James Richardson (Scott) and Bev Peeling (Shirley). The ensemble and the dancers completed the cast and, together they gave us an excellent evening’s entertainment.
Of necessity, in this small space, the scenery was simple but worked well. I was a shame that there had to be so many blackouts between scenes as this slowed the pace of the show. But I can recognise that there was no real alternative. I loved the pigeon loft, that was a stroke of genius and the memory of it will remain with me for a while!
Costumes were excellent, as they should be when they are hired from a professional supplier, but it is nice to see a society care enough to make sure that the costumes worked. Lighting and sound were fine, this stage did have a few dark spots but the cast, in particular Wayne, made sure that they were in the right place to be seen in a lit area.
A full house which is always rewarding to see, and the audience obviously enjoyed the show.