There was not a clever or witty title I could think of to do this show justice. I have not laughed so much in ages, and have not seen such a fantastic piece of theatre in a very long time. By the time Andy Morris gave us his Carmen Ghia half-way through first act I was beginning to regret having taken the time to apply mascara as the tears rolled down my face and I was laughing so hard I could hardly breathe. Chris Hayes and Christian Norton as Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom worked brilliantly, a combination of clever casting, talent, great direction and probably hours of observation. Leo Bloom was so over the top, and yet so believable that it was hard to see the real Christian under the blue blanket! Sally Bean as Ulla was also, for me, perfect. Her accent never slipped and her legs never ended. Portraying someone whose talents are clearly supposed belong on the casting couch rather than the stage is a huge challenge and I was very impressed with Sally’s performance.
The whole show was as camp as Butlins in August, complete with cameos for all the Village People, Alice in Wonderland, Minnie Mouse and a large pink elephant, who was strangely not out of place at all!
Clearly the cast was having fun, and it shows in the magic and sparkle and some truly inspired performances, including a chorus of caged homing pigeons … what do you mean they weren’t real? Clever casting and strong production sets this show a long way in front. I can’t imagine any other place where an entire chorus can be chorographed with Zimmer frames in a style strangely reminiscent of Chim Chimney, or a showgirl can wear a giant pretzel on her head and get away with it.
The only thing amateur about LAODS performance of Mel Brooks’s The Producers is their paycheck. It is a real must see, and those who miss it will have almost certainly missed out.
… but, please, oil those squeaky trucks:-)