Review: The Producers

The Producers
The Producers
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TO produce a show about a show that sets itself up for failure... talk about carrying the risk of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

* * * *

Church Hill Theatre, Morningside Road

Fortunately for Edinburgh Musical Theatre, their production of The Producers is a riotous, goose-stepping success.

First, though, some background to Mel Brooks’s original story. Down on his luck Broadway producer Max Bialystock and mousy accountant Leo Bloom realise they could get rich by producing a flop rather than a hit.

Cue Springtime For Hitler, a show so poor in taste it is guaranteed to close by Page 4 of the script. Or so they think.

Dominated by silly accents, cartoonish caricatures, and a general send up of theatrical conventions, EMT’s ambitious undertaking benefits from a tremendous sense of fun and inspired casting.

Jerrard Doran’s elasticated features and gauche mannerisms are well suited to his panic-stricken, security blanket-carrying Bloom.

His partner in crime, Andrew McDade, is so convincing as selfish, manipulative shyster Bialystock, it’s no surprise he’s willing to “shtup” every little old lady investor he can lay.

Henrietta Linnemann, meanwhile, looks great in a blonde wig and tight clothing as Max’s secretary Ulla.

Scott Kenneway, however, steals the show as emotionally unpredictable, pigeon-carrying Nazi, Franz Liebkind. Every time he enters the fray, laughs are never far away.

And spare a thought for Fraser Shand as screaming-from-the-rafters director, Roger de Bris.

There’s many conceptual elements in The Producers - all tiny productions of their own - so it’s to EMT’s credit that they pull off each with both innovation and entertaining guile.

Showstopping tunes bring out the full colour of the chorus, however McDade’s recounting of the entire show in one number proves you don’t always need big sets and fancy costumes to thrill an audience.

Yes, it’s a bit lengthy, and it won’t be to everyone’s taste, but as Ulla says, “If you’ve got it, flaunt it.”

Run ends Saturday