The Landor Theatre’s production of Curtains written by the music and lyrics team Kander and Ebb, is an absolute delight. It is a hilarious pastiche, but this cast keep the truth shining through at every moment.
The Landor is one of the earliest fringe theatres, starting life in 1994. Its focus is primarily on producing or housing musical theatre productions in an intimate environment.
Curtains had its world premiere in 2006 in Los Angeles, transferring to Broadway later in 2007.
A show within a show, – ‘a musical comedy whodunit’…..this is a musical for people for who adore musicals!
‘Curtains draws us into the backstage world of a disaster-stricken theatre company putting on a production of ‘Robin Hood’. With the sudden death of their leading lady and terrible reviews, things are not going to plan. As the story unfolds there are plenty of laughs and much for the audience to enjoy.
With large production numbers and a great set and costumes, this revival directed by Robert McWhir, has a very glossy feel to it. McWhir has cleverly utilised the small space of the Landor to the production’s advantage.
Jeremy Lagat gives us a superb performance as musical theatre loving detective, Lieutenant Frank Cioffi. Arriving at the theatre hoping to solve the mystery behind the death of the show’s star, Cioffi is in his element surrounded by ‘Show People’ and is eager to help the company make ‘Robin Hood’ a smash hit.
Fiona O’Carroll is lovely as writer Georgia Hendrix who is forced to make a return to the stage after some time to take over as leading lady in the musical that she and her ex – husband had in fact written. This song-writing partnership comes to an abrupt end as she is thrust into the spotlight once more. A very special moment of the show is when Aarron Fox as Leo Andrew sings of missing a creative partnership, ‘I miss the music’. Kandor wrote this after Ebb had passed away before Curtains had been completed.
Bronwyn Andrews plays Niki Harris perfectly as the young sweet understudy, and Bryan Kennedy is absolutely every inch the archetypal director, Christopher Belling.
The talented ensemble constantly hold your attention, each performer full of character at every moment. It’s Daniella Bowen who shines out however in this production with her fantastic performance as super ambitious Bambi. Constantly being put down by her producer mum, Carmen Bernstein, played by feisty Buster Skeggs, Bambi is determined to prove herself, and her abilities. This results in a great hilarious dance routine in Act Two. Bambi succeeds in showing everyone how talented she truly is, and that she will definitely to go far….and with her stand-out performance tonight in Curtains, so does Daniella Bowen.
Robbie O’Reilly’s choreography is full of personality and Michael Webborn leads the band with panache.
A lovely touch is that inside our programme we have also been treated to the playbill of ‘Robin Hood’; reading the biographies of these ‘characters’ was very entertaining.
The final words from the cast is a plea to keep the events of the evening top secret. So you had better buy a ticket for Curtains so you can find out exactly what unfolds for yourself!
Reviewed by Joanna Forest who you can follow on Twitter @joannaforest
Wednesday 15th August 2012