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The Producers

The Producers - Reviews

Nottingham Evening Post - Peter Jordan, Wednesday 4th Mar 2009

SIMON Theobald and Jonathan Allen make a potent pairing in Mel Brooks' celebrated musical comedy which focuses on failed producer Max Bialystock and his hapless partner Leo Bloom, a neurotic accountant, who plot to over-sell the rights to a stage production which they are certain will be a flop of epic proportions.

Trawling through scores of plays, the manic collaborators come across Springtime for Hitler, an excruciating, offensive and absolutely awful work, compiled by an eccentric escaped Nazi named Franz Liebkind, which, they agree, is, "a surefire loser".

To ensure it is, "The Producers" recruit the services of flamboyantly gay third rate director Roger de Bris and sexy Swedish secretary Ulla.

But the best laid plans go alarmingly wrong and their production is a smash hit, leaving a bewildered production team running for cover, while opening a door to fame and fortune.

Theobald is magnificent as Bialystock, a larger than life package of disreputability, an opportunist who commands the stage with his presence, has a fine vocal range and is a master of his craft.

In contrast, Allen is the perfect foil.

Nicola Bilton is a delight as the alluring Ulla, flaunting her assets and impressing with her vocal talents, while Dan Armstrong, with a splendid over the top performance, is a revelation as De Bris. He and Marc Taylor as Carmen Ghia, his effeminate aide, wring out the laughs.

A brilliant ensemble add enthusiasm and flair to proceedings, excelling with sparkling dance numbers choreographed by Rachael Rees amongst which is a side-splitting Grannies' Zimmer Dance and an energetic Storm Troopers routine.

Hailed as a satirical masterpiece, Brooks' classic is given the full treatment by Carlton Operatic Society under the direction of Sarah Warnsby and Musical Director Christopher Rees.

Full of cliches and stereotype, The Producers is an equal opportunity offender which throws caution to the wind and flies in the face of political correctness. It is immensely funny and is a triumph for a society at the top of its form.

Noda - Phil Williams, Tuesday 3rd March 2009

This was without doubt an outstanding production. Excellent stage and musical direction brought out the best of an extremely talented cast who put their heart and soul into the performance. Typical were superb portrayals of Max and Leo (Simon Theobald, Jonathan Allen) together with bubbly blond Ulla (Nicola Bilton), but all the cast deserve mention. Super choreography and dance rekindled memories of Busby Berkeley routines, while very good chorus singing and excellent costumes were a delight to ear and eye. The stage crew were super-efficient with the many changes and lighting used to perfection. West End, eat your heart out!

Audience comments

"Thank you for the wonderful performance of The Producers last night. I have seen the show a number of times in the West End and on tour and came to it with a bit of trepidation (would I enjoy it as much) but I was blown away. A superb cast, costumes and set made for a great evening. I laughed myself silly and couldn't help applauding as the swastika was revealed in the mirror. A wonderful evening, thank you so much."

"Congratulations on a stunning production: the last time my wife and I saw The Producers was on Broadway in 2006, and your production gave it a good run for the money (and the tickets weren't $100!)."

"I have never laughed so much in my life. The performances were superb, sets, costumes, choreography, running gags, I could go on. The pigeons..... Thank you so much, worth every penny and double!"

"All of our party thought the production was first rate. Max, and Leo worked together really well and Ulla wow!! Roger and Carmen were very convincing and extremely funny. Scene changes were smooth without any black spots and very quiet, well done the team. ... A first rate production."

"An excellent production. Superior to some professional productions that I've seen. 11 out of 10."

"We all thought that the show was fantastic. Totally professional in all respects. Every one of the cast gave their all and the leads were spot on. Being a techy type, I was amazed at the smoothness of the scene changes and I didn't once hear the stage crew moving the sets. You have really set a standard for us to follow, both onstage and back stage. Our "Max" came to see the show and he was very quiet on the journey home!"

"Just a few lines to tell you how much myself and Eanna enjoyed your production of The Producers. It was great to see such a good Amateur production as i had only ever seen the West End production some years ago."

"Absolutely fabulous! Laughed 'till I cried! The production was superb and as usual the standard was excellent. Loved the Zimmerframes. Not sure if all the audience reaslised you were all in part "taking off" Village People but the "ham up" was great."

"Well done for The Producers. Was there Saturday afternoon (7 March). This is the fourth one i have seen - they just keep getting better."

"We brought along 10 of our friends to the performance of The Producers on Saturday evening - it was quite brilliant and a deserved success. We all enjoyed it so much. All of the cast were excellent, with strength across all roles - though the two 'leads' were truly outstanding. Just how all the cast has the energy/enthusiasm to rehearse and perform to that high standard, as well as hold down normal jobs is unbelievable. It was also directed with pace, and the humour allowed to shine throughout. The orchestra too was also excellent. All in all an lovely evening - we look forward to next year."

"What a wonderful show! I went wondering what it would be like as I didn't know anything about it. I read the synopsis but that didn't do a lot for me, so I was greatly surprised and enchanted by the show. The standard gets better each show. I have to tell you I had a few 'phone calls last night to thank me for "prodding" them to go - one lady had seen the show before (in London, I believe) and she thought this one so much better. My god-daughter and family were very impressed. Please pass on our congratulations to everyone involved. There was much attention to detail throughout the performance and it was lovely."