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If you have seen The Producers on stage or on screen then you will know that it is a rip-roaring, hilarious and tongue in cheek celebration of the world of theatre.
Internationally acclaimed and Tony Award winning, The Producers tells the story of Max Bialystock, a fading Broadway producer who has fallen on hard times. Desperate for another success, Bialystock finds an unlikely ally and friend in shy accountant Leo Bloom, who calculates that they could instead make more money with a Broadway flop than a hit!
The Cheltenham Operatic and Dramatics Society (CODS) is one of the oldest amateur dramatic societies in Gloucestershire and indeed, the country. In their latest performance at The Everyman theatre, audiences can expect excellent acting, strong singing, magical musical direction, clever choreography and an impressive set.
Having watched the opening night performance I can honestly say that there was nothing ‘amateur’ about the show. I’ve seen and enjoyed many theatre shows over the years and the CODS’ performance of The Producers easily rivals any professional production. I’d urge anyone who has a preconception of amateur dramatics to see a CODS production and be very pleasantly surprised.
Playing Max Bialystock, Ben Leeke offers a larger than life character who delivers lines and comic timing with excellent precision. A very physical part, I was exhausted just watching Leeke take the stage. According to the programme, The Producers is Leeke’s favourite musical and his passion shines through in his energetic performance.
Ben Wilson plays the meek and mild character of Leo Bloom to perfection – despite being a bit of a drip, Wilson’s portrayal of Bloom remains lovable and entertaining. Wilson’s facial expressions were magical and had the audience in stitches particularly when partnered with Leeke’s brash Bialystock.
Ashley Frieze had the unenviable job of portraying the character of Franz Liebkind, the mastermind behind ‘Springtime for Hitler’ – the disastrous play chosen by Bialystock and Bloom to be a sure fire flop. However, Frieze was absolutely brilliant in his role and it truly says something when an actor can ad lib extra lines to entertain his audience ‘ It’s a good motorbike!’.
Elizabeth Cox is an excellent Ulla who is pretty, vivacious and naïve – perfectly played in a cast which offers mainly male characters. Cox has perfected the Swedish accent and her version of “If you’ve got it, flaunt it” was very well received.
I loved the accountancy firm scene and I had tears of laughter during Roger’s Townhouse scene where Gary Haseley-Nejrup reigned supreme as Roger DeBris and Des Rowlinson’s Carmen Ghia was hysterically funny.
The ensemble cast were absolutely brilliant and really floated the show. I took Theatre Studies at A Level and I loved being a part of each school production we put on. I could feel a strong sense of camaraderie from the CODS’ cast and it translated to the audience who were treated to the magic of slick teamwork – everyone pulled together and pulled off a brilliant production.
Theatre is at its best when the audience are fully immersed in the show and leave their troubles at the door – the audience were only too happy to give a standing ovation and laughter was ringing out long after the curtain had come down.
The Producers is showing at The Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham from 4 – 8 June 2019 and I would wholeheartedly recommend it. In fact, I’m excited to see what the CODS produce next!
Have you seen The Producers on stage or on screen? Who is your favourite character in the show? Comment below, say hello and let me know!
As always, thank you so much for reading.
Love, Thrifty Mumma X
To book tickets to see The Producers please visit the dedicated Everyman Theatre website: www.everymantheatre.org.uk
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