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BrumHour was invited to see Curtains by The Alexandra.
By Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour
Please note this production contains misogyny and onstage gunfire.
Curtains at The Alexandra
Directed by Paul Foster, book by Rupert Holmes based on Curtains by Peter Stone, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb
1959 Boston, USA: A New York-based production company is putting on a new musical in the hope of taking it to Broadway. The musical is a version of Robin Hood set in the Wild West: Robbin’ Hood, and it has received terrible reviews even before its proper opening night.
Robbin’ Hood leading lady Jessica Cranshaw (Nia Jermin) has collapsed on stage during the final curtain call and has been taken to hospital. The rest of the company is arguing about the poor reviews when Homicide Police Officer Lieutenant Frank Cioffi (Jason Manford) turns up to announce he’s investigating Jessica’s murder.
Cioffi puts the theatre into lockdown, but with the theatre company so unaffected by the death of their leading lady everyone could have a motive: Georgina Hendricks (Carley Stenson) who is suddenly the new leading lady, the Director Christopher (Samuel Holmes) and Bambi (Emma Caffery) who wants to be the lead herself.
A musical whodunnit comedy sounds like a clash of genres, Fame meets Cluedo, Curtains plays with its situation with laugh out loud moments and sweet music and lyrics and a somewhat confused audience. The American origins makes its approach to getting on with things in adversity seem quite insensitive to a British audience. Even its reiteration that The Show MUST Go on sounds forced by British “standards”.
Not having a character to trust in the production where anyone can be the villain means we, the audience become observers, even Frank keeps getting distracted from the task at hand, his lust for actress Niki Harris (Leah West) and his desperate wish to be in musicals is blinding his judgement throughout.
The music is great and songs like The Woman’s Dead and In the Same Boat, will echo around for days. Set wise, the stage is fairly stripped back throughout acting as the back of the theatre with limited props around most of the time.
I found Curtains to be a fun, silly, cheeky and loud production, and even the direct lampooning of theatre reviewers couldn’t stop me from enjoying myself!
Jason Manford is surprisingly good, particularly his singing voice and the support of this ensemble cast really helps bring out the very best in all of the actors.
At two hours and forty minutes including interval, this is a fairly long production which contains TWO (cuttable) overtures!
Curtains is at The Alexandra until Saturday 9th November. Book tickets with BrumHour’s affiliate link >> HERE <<.