Review: The Producers

The ProducersPresented by The Hills Musical Company Inc.
Reviewed Saturday 27th April 2013

Mel Brooks wrote this 12 Tony Award winning musical, based on the Academy Award winning 1968 hit film starring Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder, which he also wrote and directed.

A once great theatre producer, Max Bialystock now seems to produce only flops. Until his accountant Leo Bloom, casually mentions that it would be possible, although highly illegal, to make more with a disaster than with a success. Max sees the potential for making a fortune, and eventually entices the reluctant Leo into helping him.

They need the worst musical ever written, and they find it in Springtime for Hitler: A Gay Romp with Adolf and Eva at Berchtesgaden, written by pigeon fancier, Franz Liebkind in order to reveal the ‘fun’ side of his beloved Führer. Roger DeBris, the world’s worst director is enlisted, along with his team and his “common law assistant”, Carmen Ghia. There is no doubt that the production is going to be high camp, rather than Mein Kampf.

A Swedish blonde bombshell Ulla auditions and the duo take her on as their office assistant until rehearsals start. All is in place for the ultimate disaster.

Jamie Richards and Omkar Nagesh play Max and Leo, in a sensational double act. The each create marvellously funny characters but together they encourage and challenge each other to give more and more to their roles. These two give a very solid core to the production.

Shenayde Wilkinson-Sarti plays the glamorous and highly sexed Ulla, seemingly unaware of the effect she is having on the two men. She not only finds plenty of comedy in the role but she is also the choreographer, making even the non-dancers look good.

Paul Briske generates his fair share of laughs as the wacky Nazi, Franz Liebkind, especially due to his very physical comic skills. His terrible play extols the virtues of Hitler and Eva Braun.

Eden Plaisted throws himself into the role of the flamboyant  and egotistical Roger DeBris. He is ably assisted by Adam Harrison as the petulant and sycophantic Carmen Ghia. They will have you in fits of laughter.

Ellis Dolan, who plays a small role as a Stormtrooper, has an impressive voice, so keep an eye out for him. The ensemble is required to sing, dance, and act a variety of roles, and they do an excellent job of all three.

Director, Steve Rudd, kept things moving at a frantic pace and the laughs came thick and fast. The theatre was not designed for musicals, but the elaborate sets (causing a few lengthy set changes) looked good and were functional. The music, under musical director Tammy Papps, is played with precision by a fine orchestra. The busy lighting design, by Peter Howie and Rudd, certainly keeps the operators on their toes.

It is a mere ten minute trip up the freeway to see this hilarious musical comedy, so book a ticket and hop in the car for a night of absurd fun.

Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Arts Critic, Glam Adelaide

Hills Musical event page

Venue: Stirling Community Theatre, Avenue Road, Stirling
Season: to Saturday 11th May 2013
Duration: 2hr 30min incl intvl.
Tickets: $18 to $27
Bookings: here

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