Review: The Producers at the Grand Opera House

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The Producers, based on Mel Brooks’ Academy award winning movie, brings all the elements of a fabulous musical production together: energetic choreography, powerful vocals, great chemistry between the cast and an injection of comedy all sugar coated with (as the song said) a lot of gay.

The show features a sterling line up of Jason Manford as Leo Bloom, wannabe Broadway producer; Phil Jupitus as Franz Liebkind, writer of Springtime for Hitler – a guaranteed flop; and Cory English as Max Bialystock, a down on his luck producer whose recent show was a complete box office disaster. The story, which was hilariously summized in English’s outstanding performance in the penultimate scene, revolves around the notion that more money could be made from a flop than a hit. Cue the pigeon-keeping Nazi, camp director, rambunctious chorus and the flirtatious love interest, Ulla.

I was mightily impressed not only with Manford’s ability to sing (having only ever seen him in his stand-up comedy performances) but at the chemistry between characters Max and Leo. The bumbling anxious accountant pitted against the brash womanising producer made for some golden moments, like in the lively rendition of We Can Do It.

Phil Jupitus gave an entertaining performance in his role as the maniacal 3rd Reich patriot. Watching him demonstrate the Der Guten Tag Hop Clop is something I won’t be quick to forget!

To “keep it gay”, the PA (Stephane Anelli) to director Roger de Bris (David Bodella) gave a performance camper than a VW. An absolute delight to watch him strutting around the stage! As were the chorus line and their range of dance expertise with tap, ballet and even a little samba thrown in.

A night of pure entertainment and a great opening for the production in Belfast ending with a deserved standing ovation.