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Curtains at Wyndham’s Theatre | Review

CURTAINS The Company - Photo Richard Davenport.
CURTAINS The Company – Photo Richard Davenport.

From the creators of Cabaret and Chicago, Curtains is a hilarious Tony Award winning comedy musical that will have audiences guessing ’til the very end. When Jessica Cranshaw, star of Broadway-bound musical Robbin’ Hood is murdered, onstage detective and musical fanatic, Frank Cioffi is brought in to solve the case.

Curtains is extremely funny and is full of twists and turns. It is a show that is not afraid to make fun of itself. The innovative mix of a classic ‘whodunit’, a musical within a musical story and lots of clichés works in no small part due to the extremely talented cast. The clever direction by Paul Foster and a creative plot keeps the production moving and entertaining throughout. At points, the performance does start to drag slightly and its long running time could be tightened to keep the pace moving at the same rate as the humour. Kander and Ebb’s music is varied with some stand-out songs such as ‘The Woman’s Dead’, ‘Show People’ and ‘He Did It’ which make fun of musicals and the musical performers themselves. The in-jokes and puns about being in ‘showbiz’ work brilliantly and even the least stagey audience will find humour in the brilliant delivery of the witty one-liners.

Curtains features a host of well-known names including Jason Manford (The Producers, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Guys and Dolls) who plays detective Frank Cioffi with brilliant humour and, proving that he is more than just a comedian, his vocals are strong. Carley Stenson (Les Miserables, Legally Blonde, Shrek, Spamalot and Hollyoaks) shows off her rich vocals particularly during the touching song ‘Thinking of Him’. Stealing the show, Rebecca Lock is absolutely hilarious during her throwaway comic lines and she vocally impresses, especially during the song ‘It’s A Business’. Samuel Holmes is marvellous as British director Christopher Belling – his witty one-liners are delivered with gusto and have the audience laughing out loud. All of the cast are very talented. Emma Caffrey is extremely good as Bambi Bernét especially during the dance section with Alan Burkitt – and Andy Coxon wows the audience during the moving song ‘I Miss The Music’.

The set, designed by David Woodhead, uses a cleverly constructed backdrop of a Boston theatre stage in which the show Robbin’ Hood’s fittingly amateur set pieces are quickly moved in and out. Lighting by Tim Mitchell utilises colour and spot lights to add to the comedy of the show. Gabriella Slade’s detailed costume design is super. The women’s costumes for Robbin’ Hood are particularly impressive with lots of period detail and texture.

Curtains is definitely different to other shows currently on. It is a fun, old-fashioned musical with an interesting concept. It will have the audience laughing out loud whilst constantly scratching their head trying to work out who the murderer is. With a clever, witty book and lyrics and some catchy numbers, the show is certainly a great way of getting away from the stresses of everyday life making it a great form of escapism. With an extremely talented cast Curtains is a show not to be missed either in London or around the UK on its tour.

4 stars

Review by Amanda Reynolds

From the Tony Award-winning creators of ‘Cabaret’ and ‘Chicago’, Kander and Ebb’s production tells the story of Jessica Cranshaw, star of the new Broadway-bound musical Robbin Hood, who has been murdered on stage on opening night! The entire cast and crew are suspects. Time to call in the local detective, Frank Cioffi, who just happens to be a huge musical theatre fan. With a nose for crime and an ear for music, Frank has his work cut out trying to find the killer whilst giving the show a lifeline.

The show stars comedian, actor and singer Jason Manford as Detective ‘Lt. Frank Cioffi’. He is joined by Carley Stenson as ‘Georgia Hendricks’, Rebecca Lock as ‘Carmen Bernstein’, Samuel Holmes as ‘Christopher Belling’, Leah Barbara West as ‘Niki Harris’, Alan Burkitt as ‘Bobby Pepper’ and Andy Coxon as ‘Aaron Fox’.

The cast is completed by Emma Caffrey as ‘Bambi Bernet’, Adam Rhys-Charles as ‘Daryl Grady’, Martin Callaghan as ‘Oscar Shapiro’, Minal Patel as ‘Johnny Harmon’ and Mark Sangster as ‘Sidney Bernstein’. Joining them in the ensemble is, J.R. Ballantyne, Kathryn Barnes, Pamela Blair, Charlie Johnson, Robin Kent, Thomas-Lee Kid, Ben Mundy, Gleanne Purcell Brown, Samuel John-Humphreys and Nia Jermin.

Music by John Kander, Lyrics by Fred Ebb
Book by Rupert Holmes
Original Book and Concept by Peter Stone
Additional Lyrics by John Kander & Rupert Holmes
Directed by Paul Foster

Monday – 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Tuesday – 3.00pm and 7.30pm
Wednesday – 7.30pm
Thursday – 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Friday – 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Saturday – 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Sunday – 3.00pm

Wyndham’s Theatre
Booking to 11th January 2020
32-36 Charing Cross Road London WC2H 0DA

Tuesday 14 – Saturday 18 January
LONDON New Wimbledon Theatre
Book Tickets for New Wimbledon Theatre

Tuesday 21 – Saturday 25 January
Book Tickets for Sunderland Theatre

Tuesday 28 January – Saturday 1 February
Book Tickets for Liverpool Empire

Tuesday 4 – Saturday 8 February
LLANDUDNO, Venue Cymru

Tuesday 11 – Saturday 15 February
NORWICH Theatre Royal

Tuesday 25 – Saturday 29 February
NORTHAMPTON Royal & Derngate

Tuesday 3 – Saturday 7 March

Tuesday 10 – Saturday 14 March
GLASGOW King’s Theatre
Book Tickets for King’s Theatre Glasgow

Monday 16 – Saturday 21 March
LEICESTER Haymarket Theatre

Tuesday 31 March – Saturday 4 April

Tuesday 6 April – Saturday 11 April

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