Review: The Producers at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

Jason Manford and Cory English in The Producers.
Jason Manford and Cory English in The Producers.
Katherine Ryan

REVIEW: Katherine Ryan at the Portsmouth Guildhall

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It’s been almost 15 years since Mel Brooks’ The Producers was first brought to the stage but, as this latest version proves, it’s lost none of its appeal.

This joyful production is nothing short of a musical spectacular, with flashy sets, a bouncing cast and more laughs than you can poke a swastika at. The comedy is often clever, sometimes trite but never too far away. Barely a full minute seemed to pass without the audience erupting into cackles.

Cory English is centre stage as Max Bialystock, the unscrupulous producer who ropes in Leo Bloom, played by Jason Manford, as his sidekick with a scheme to make millions by bringing a flop to Broadway.

When they read the script for Springtime For Hitler, written by Ross Noble’s brilliantly barmy Franz Liebkind, they think they’ve found a winner, or a loser, as it were.

The wicked magic of this show is the snappy show tunes which have you jumping along to everything from timid love to Nazi domination.

There are showbiz in-jokes galore, none funnier than when English recaps the night’s event, including the interval, with a lament about the price of ice-cream at the theatre.

We’re not in very deep waters here, but for a good, fun night out The Producers is hard to beat. The show runs until May 30.

STUART ANDERSON