The Producers

St Paul Players, Adlington

Runs Until Saturday

Tickets: 01204 407784

BASED on the book, The Producers by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan and billed as a Mel Brooks musical, The Producers burst into life, safe in the hands of Director Dave Maloney who manages to squeeze every ounce of comedy, both situational and visual in this fast paced, all singing and dancing production. The lively opening number, complete with vocal harmonies and array of colourful stylised costumes and abundant energy and enthusiasm is a delight.

As Max Bialystock’s latest production flops, it takes his accountant Leo Bloom to make him realise that this is a good thing, prompting Max to present the worst production he can muster ­— but will this be the case? Mike Wignall presents a vibrant performance as Max and is hardly off stage which is testament to this performer’s tenacity in maintaining a strong and solid performance. Matching him in spades, Jack Corrigan as Leo Bloom is refreshing, vocally adept and equally as vibrant as we are treated to Jack’s spectacular vocal range that brings this amazing score to life ­— an excellent performance, especially the number I Want to be a Producer.

Max and Leo decide to present a production of Springtime in Germany which sees the introduction of Franz Liebkind, a patriotic follower of the Fuhrer who has written a play in his honor. Chris Whitehead attacks this role with gusto resulting in two broken legs.

Comedy comes aplenty throughout but it is Tom Townsend and Joe Cunliffe who have us in stitches and they know just how do hit the right spot, resulting in some raucous laughter and side splitting hilarity that is expertly delivered. Tom Townsend certainly keeps it gay as Roger Debris, looking stunning and glamorous in a frock and giving a natural air of campness that makes this performance so believable. His able assistant, Carmen Ghia is devoured by Joe Cunliffe, complete with floral and pink attire and high heel sling backs. Two cracking interpretations of these characters that were never over played and well received, judging by the audience reaction.

We have had a range of superlatives describing each character but we have not yet had sultry, sexy and a stage presence to die for ­—I was saving this for Ashley Cassidy who was all the aforementioned in her portrayal of Ulla, the Swedish performer-come-cleaner who was just brilliant. What more can I say!

Many cameo roles came thick and fast but worthy of a special mention is Katie Toole who is so naturally funny in any role she takes on and the many in this production were no exception.

The ensemble worked so well together and was literally in tune in all aspects of the production. A show is not a show without an ensemble, and this ensemble prove that point, as without their drive and ability to come up with the results you just have not got a show. Whilst there is no choreographer credited in the programme, the choreography was in keeping with period of the piece, some very nice routines that complimented the wide variety of numbers.

Musical Director Lauren Mulholland has created some cracking vocals, both individual and ensemble and the orchestra who are of a high standard, add to the success of this production.

There are many scene changes and all were executed well by Steve Blundell, Sam Heyes and their stage crew team, displaying some great scenery. Also, the many costumes by Judy Marsh were well coordinated – no easy feat in this type of production and they looked stunning.

If you have a spare night this week you could do no better that get down to see this fabulous show, you won’t be disappointed – I certainly wasn’t.

Paul Cohen