Saturday, September 24, 2005

Theatre Review: The Producers (Theatre Royal Drury Lane, London West End)

We just got back from Soho after a viewing of The Producers, a new musical by Mel Brooks at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Taking advantage of an offer we managed to book seats on the front stalls for £24 per seats (see below).

The Producers is based in 1959 New York and revolves around a theatrical producer Max Bialystock (Fred Applegate) and accoutant Leo Bloom (John Gordon Sinclair) and their attempt to take advantage of a loop hole by creating a Broadway flop and running away to Brazil with the money. The musical? A tasteless neo-Nazi broadway called Springtime for Hitler. Instead the whole conspiracy backfires when it turns into a massive hit.

Firstly, we were quite impressed with the theatre. The Theatre Royal Drury Lane situated in the heart of West End's Theatreland, is just a short walk from Temple and stone throw from Covent Garden market. The building itself wasn't that impressive. Bland in colour, it pales in comparison to other West End theatres. But it does have character and I like it.

The inside is average with the compulsory bar at the entrace to the stalls. I believe they have four levels of seating with the best seats on the stalls and grand circle. Above it is the upper circle and the balcony.

We had row H on the stalls which is amazingly close to the stage. A tall American lady almost ruined my view but luckily for us the head only blocked the right side of the stage which was so 'unhappening'. The orchestra performed hidden in pit between the stalls and the stage. We could only see the conductor's head. Which was a shame really.

We were very impressed with the cast. Fred Applegate was amazing as the chubby and short Max. Reminds me of Danny Devito. The character Leo Bloom (John Gordon Sinclair) took a little longer to get into though but was likeable soon enough. Then there are ensemble which made up of very attractive tall babes.

To top it of we had Leigh Zimmerman (we also saw her in Chicago) as the very attractive Swedish bombshell, Ulla. Leigh with her gorgeous Amazonian figure is simply one of the most attractive actress in West End today.

Image: Ulla (source: Leigh Zimmerman official site)

We agreed that special mention should be awarded to Hadrian Delacey, who temporarily replaced Nicolas Colicos, to play neo-Nazi Hitler apologist, Franz Liebkind. He was simply amazing soloing 'In Old Bavaria' which was outrageously funny with its Nazi pigeon cast, including one aptly named Adolf.

Then there is Stephen Matthews who was brilliant as Carmen Ghia, the gay partner of the 'renowned theatrical diretor' Roger Debris (Don Gallagher). Queer Eye for the Straight Guy? Blah. Multiple by a hundred and you get Carmen. Amazing performance.

Such a political incorrect gags which insults almost anything (Nazis, gays, OAPs, Europeans etc.) should of course not be taken too seriously.

It did seem a little too long by the end as it dragged its feet through to the 'Prisoners of Love' finale. But overall we love it and I wouldn't mind attending it again. Maybe when I visit New York.

Next up: Guys and Dolls, if I can raise £110 + fees for the two tickets.

Box office: 0870 145 1163, offer from half price for best seats up to 50% off till 5 Nov. Book by 9 Oct. Quote "Biggest Offer".


elb said...

say Jon, you wouldn't be interested in a meet up next weekend, would you? V's ( coming down and all that. let us know asap. i have sporadic access to an internet connection though, so hurry!

Jon said...

Would love to. Keep me posted. You can gmail me on londonblogger.