Just walking into the theatre and seeing Paul Anderson’s vibrantly coloured set for The Boy Friend chases away the winter blues and transports you to 1920s Riviera in this sparkling production.
The Boy Friend is an ideal show to lighten these dark winter days, providing a healthy dose of escapism and pure joyousness for all.
The Menier Chocolate Factory has announced initial casting for its major revival of Sandy Wilson’s The Boy Friend running at the theatre from 22 November 2019 to 7 March 2020 (press night is on 3 December 2019). Full casting will be announced shortly.
The Menier Chocolate Factory has announced a major revival of Sandy Wilson’s The Boy Friend, running at the theatre from 22 November 2019 until 7 March 2020 (press night is 3 December), directed by Matthew White along with choreographer and associate director Bill Deamer.
These are the skeletons you want in your closet. In Addams Family Musical, Samantha Womack brings unexpected warmth to Morticia – is that a good thing? – and Cameron Blakeley’s Gomez, Carrie Hope Fletcher’s sensational Wednesday and Les Dennis’s baleful romantic Uncle Fester are all prime turns.
From the moment the overtures commences with the iconic clicks from the cartoon/TV series the audiences are not only on side but clicking along. The story, characters and settings are iconic. But with such a cultural resonance of course comes great expectations.
Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice’s book features a somewhat conventional love story, as daughter Wednesday wants to marry her more commonplace boyfriend Lucas Beineke. This involves enlisting the help of father Gomez, much to the chagrin of mother Morticia.
Stumble on your way out of the Menier’s restaurant and you can, literally, roll down the ramp through The Bunker’s front door. The two upstairs, downstairs theatres are currently serving up two, very different, musicals: She Loves Me and Muted.
Matthew White directs this revival of the musical, featuring music by Jerry Bock and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick. But what have critics been saying about it? The Guardian: **** “It’s a show that gains from the intimacy of the Menier setting and […]
With little space for big numbers choreographer Rebecca Howell delivers sharp wit instead, from the first moment when an arriving worker jumps over a passing postman.
Samantha Womack, Les Dennis and Carrie Hope Fletcher will star as Morticia, Fester and Wednesday Addams in the UK & Irish premiere of THE ADDAMS FAMILY, a musical comedy, with book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, and music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa, based on the characters created by Charles Addams. Further casting is to be announced. The UK …
The Menier Chocolate Factory today announces that Scarlett Strallen will be joined by Alastair Brookshaw, Les Dennis, Callum Howells, Katherine Kingsley, Dominic Tighe and Mark Umbers in the cast of SHE LOVES ME at the Menier Chocolate Factory. Tickets are onsale via MyTheatreMates.
The Menier Chocolate Factory today announces that Scarlett Strallen will return to the Menier Chocolate Factory to lead the company of She Loves Me this Christmas. The production reunites Strallen with director Matthew White, following their previous collaboration at the Menier on Candide. The production opens on 7 December 2016, with previews from 25 November, and runs until 5 March 2017.
The UK and Irish premiere of Broadway musical comedy THE ADDAMS FAMILY will open an extensive nationwide tour at the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh on 20 April 2017, directed by Matthew White.
Churchill Theatre, Bromley
Music and lyrics by Mel Brooks
Book by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan
Jason Manford and Cory English
The headline cast of The Producers is almost a who’s who of today’s popular entertainment scene. Jason Manford, Louie Spence and Phill Jupitus all take principal roles alongside the lesser known (but nonetheless industry greats) Cory English, David Bedella and the stunning Tiffany Graves. They lead a company that delivers flawless performances as they dust off Mel Brooks deliciously dated musical.
The 12 Tony-winning musical wowed Broadway in 2001, but of course the original yarn was spun by Brooks in his 1968 Oscar winning movie – and it is to that film that this touring revival pays homage. The onstage newspaper headlines scream of BJ and Vietnam as shyster Broadway producer Max Bialystock, so richly defined by Zero Mostel in the 60s, slicked-back hair and red smoking jacket, is neatly caricatured by Cory English. Back in the day Gene Wilder defined the nebbish (google it) that is frustrated accountant Leo Bloom. In 2015 Jason Manford (a surprisingly big fella in the flesh) makes the most of his lumbering features to define Bloom’s wondrously hopeless inadequacies. Manford’s anxiety-ridden Bloom seriously exceeds expectations.
The story could be neither more tasteless nor more famous. As humble clerk Bloom realises that were a show to prove a guaranteed flop then amoral producers could sell its rights many times over and embezzle the investors’ cash. Bialystock pounces on this stroke of (criminal) genius and takes Bloom into partnership. Sourcing possibly the worst script in town, Springtime For Hitler written by a crazed former Nazi and hiring Roger De Bris, a disastrous director to helm it, failure is a certainty. Until of course De Bris delivers a Fuhrer who’s camper than Christmas and the Broadway crowds go wild…
Cory English has previous as Bialystock, having played the producer on Drury Lane and he masters the ways of the wily granny-shagger with aplomb, his 11 o’clock number Betrayed being a particular treat. Mel Brook’s Borsht Belt comedy roots (google that too) are manifest in Bialystock’s corny patter, as his unique style merges Sid James’ Carry On smut with a wry sense of self-deprecation that’s as New York Jewish as pastrami on rye.
The biggest butt (pun intended) of Brook’s gags is of course Hitler and the Nazis – and what better way to humiliate a truly evil force than to laugh at it (With a momentary pause to sadly wish “if only” that could be the case in today’s troubled world). Along the way however and in alphabetical order, blacks, gays, Irish, Jews and Swedes are all mercilessly mocked in a show that makes for one big guilty pleasure.
David Bedella’s De Bris is a high priest of high camp. Preening and pouting, he is poured into his dress – and gives Hitler just the right touch of manic megalomania too. Louie Spence as his posturing assistant Carmen Ghia has a modest role but milks it magnificently with a movement that is as technically brilliant as it his hilarious. And whoever thought of Phill Jupitus to play the Nazi Franz Liebkind deserves the Iron Cross. The comedian’s (rarely seen) fat, pasty, lederhosen-clad legs add visual genius to the deluded German. Be in no doubt, Jupitus cannot sing and his almost solo number, Haben Sie gehört das deutsche Band will stay with me for a long time.
Meanwhile, leading lady Tiffany Graves’ blonde bombshell Ulla simply steals her every scene. Graves’ accent is wonderfully caricatured, her singing sensational whilst her dance and cartwheeling/backflipping movement is jaw-dropping. Sporting fabulous tresses (kudos to wig mistress Sally Tynan) Graves is every inch the (not so dumb) Swedish Blonde.
Magnificence elsewhere from Lee Proud’s choreography, with the big numbers of Along Came Bialy (complete with denture wielding tap-dancing geriatrics) and Springtime For Hitler evidencing a company well drilled in dance routines that blend professional precision with immaculate comic timing. And look out for the unexpected nod to the Vulgarian (aka Germanic) Doll On A Music Box routine from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang as the Springtime number kicks off.
Bravo too to Andrew Hilton’s nine-piece band who give Brooks’ compositions the bold and brassy treatment they deserve.
The Producers’ producers have clearly piled their cash (or their investors’ ?) into the cast and it shows as Matthew White directs a magnificent 5* flawless troupe. But the un-inspiring scenery wobbles, the tank-gun helmets of the dancing Nazi showgirls look like they are Blue Peter inspired cardboard creations and unforgivably, Hitler’s moustache fell off in his big number Heil Myself! Bedella to his credit gamely played on – but where were the professional production values? The show’s future audiences deserve a little better.
As entertainment, this touring production of The Producers provides a sensational night out at the theatre. Top notch actors, delivering top notch routines. It makes for one of those rare nights when cheeks will ache from grinning. If you love comedy and musicals it’s unmissable. Brilliant, irreverent, hilarious and all performed by one of the best companies on the road today.
Plays until 14th March, then on tour.
Once you get past thinking this might be a rubber-suited prequel to the Gotham City franchise, the next thing to swallow is it’s based on a news story. Kinda. According to alien-spotting supermarket tabloid Weekly World News, a Spock-eared child purporting to be half-human half-Fledermaus was discovered in a West Virginia (isn’t it always?) cave in 1992. […]
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