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First night - 12.11.04
The Producers
Happy endings?...Broadway star Nathan Lane is ideally partnered by Britain's own Lee Evans

Mel Brooks' cult film comes to the stage - and it contains the most uninhibited fun of any musical in London right now, says Mark Shenton...

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The Producers is at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, Catherine Street WC2
Tickets £10 -
Booking to 23 April 2005
Box office: 0870 890 1109



The Producers (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane)
London has certainly seen its share of spectacularly misfiring musicals in the last couple of months, from an Oscar Wilde musical that opened and closed on the same fateful night to the nine-night run of Murderous Instincts.

" This is a musical that pokes fun at Nazis, old ladies, gay men and Swedes with equal and reckless comic abandon..."

So it's ironic that the capital's latest smash-hit musical should be an ode to the producing of flop shows.

In The Producers, a fabled theatre producer, Max Bialystock, and his accountant accomplice Leo Bloom hatch a plan to state a monster flop and pocket the residual investment. But it backfires spectacularly and turns into a massive hit instead, even though it's a tasteless salute to Hitler and the Nazi Party.

Of course it's not just musicals that have a happy ending – life does, too, sometimes, and Richard Dreyfuss' sudden exit has meant that London has the chance to see Nathan Lane, who created the role of Bialystock in the Broadway production in 2001.

sweetly vulnerable

Lane's boundless comic and musical energy has already become the stuff of theatrical legend.

But the real treat and surprise of this production is that he is ideally partnered by Brtain's own Lee Evans – with whom he co-starred in the 1997 film Mouse Hunt – who makes a sweetly vulnerable, hilariously funny Bloom.

The Producers
Musical star Leigh Zimmerman is part of the West End cast

Then there's Leigh Zimmerman, impossibly tall and improbably funny as Swedish model Ulla; Conleth Hill as the ridiculously (but hilariously) camp director Roger DeBris and James Dreyfus as his irrepressible assistant Carmen Ghia; and Nicolas Colicos as the German playwright and Hitler apologist Franz Liebkind.

There isn't a false note in the casting anywhere in a musical that pokes fun at Nazis, old ladies, gay men and Swedes with equal and reckless comic abandon.

Though Jerry Springer – the Opera may have stolen a march on this show in the tastelessness stakes (and has a far superior score), The Producers contains easily the most uninhibited fun of any musical in London right now.

More on The Producers here>>

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