The Producers, Church Hill Theatre, Review

Submitted by Ken Wilson on Wed, 23 Mar '16 10.18pm
Rating
4
Show details
Company
Edinburgh Music Theatre
Production
Joel Mason (director), Charlotte Anderson (assistant director), Linda Stewart (musical director), Bekki Wallace (choreographer) Denise Treanor and Ruth Harris (costumes)
Performers
Andrew McDade (Max Bialystock), Jerrard Doran (Leo Bloom), Henrietta Linnemann (Ulla), Scott Kenneway (Franz Liebkind), Fraser Shand (Roger De Bris), Luke Smith (Carmen Ghia)
Running time
150mins

Brave or foolish? The Producers is one of the most successful musicals ever done on Broadway. It’s obvious that amateur company Edinburgh Music Theatre never shies away from a challenge. With material this funny it would take some doing to muck it up. The Producers requires slick, clear delivery of the lines and the lyrics, the singing, dancing elaborate costumes sets and above all sly knowingness about Mel Brooks' script. Tone is all-important. And Edinburgh Music Theatre gets it just right.

Failing Broadway producer Max Bialystock is told by his accountant Leo Bloom that the best way to make a mint on Broadway is with an over-invested flop rather than a hit. Max has to produce a real stinker that will close on the first night so turns to a script by Neo-Nazi nincompoop Franz Liebkind who has the perfect bad-taste vehicle (about the rise of Hitler). It’s guaranteed to fail.

Yes, there are a few wobbly accents, sloppy scene changes (c’mon guys put your backs into it), and hum from the lights, but all is forgiven. Director Joel Mason has done a fabulous job, never tempted to cut scenes or shorten songs. The cast was excellent, Andrew McDade and Jerrard Doran as producers Bialystock and Bloom held the enterprise wonderfully together. Henrietta Linnemann flaunted it as Swedish bimbo Ulla and Fraser Shand and Luke Smith his “common law assistant” made a fine camp top double act. But Scott Kenneway as the bumbling Liebkind was a standout and here’s special-shout out for the costume designers: the showgirls were knockout but you need to fix that cuckoo clock!

It might be Church Hill’s acoustics, but too often EMT’s adorable wee orchestra had to be dampened down so that audiences could hear those brassy lyrics.

Show times

Wednesday 23 March
Thursday 24 March
Friday 25 March
Saturday 26 March