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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Llan Operatic produce another hit with their latest show

* A scene from Springtime for Hitler.

Llangollen Operatic Society likes to break free from the mould of traditional am dram fare with its
big annual show.

And they’ve certainly done that again with their latest production.

While last year there were the singing nuns, gangsters and cops of Sister Act, this time the Town Hall stage is packed with dodgy Broadway Mr Fixits, showgirls, crazy Nazis and even a gang of libidinous dancing grannies as a multi-talented cast serve up the musical comedy version of Mel Brooks’ Academy Award winning movie, The Producers.

And apart from all that, there are also a couple of four-letter words and a bit of simulated sex thrown in for good measure.

But it’s all done in the best possible taste.

The story centres on two theatrical producers, Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom, who scheme to get rich by overselling interests in a Broadway flop.

Complications arise when the show unexpectedly turns out to be successful.

The humour of the show draws on ridiculous accents, caricatures of Nazis and many show business in-­jokes.

It also features the outrageous title song Springtime for Hitler.

Much of the action revolves around the crooked Bialystock, so the character is hardly ever off stage. But John Clifford proves he’s well up to the job of handling the gargantuan part, shining in every department – line delivery, singing and even some dancing.

Sidekick Leo Bloom is excellently portrayed by Ross Wilson who brings a neat touch of pathos to the role along with some rare acting and singing ability.   

Love interest is provided by the boys’ ultra-sexy Swedish secretary Ulla, played with plenty of va-va-va-voom by a blonde-wigged Louisa Jones.

Bialystock and Bloom go looking for the worst director on Broadway to ensure they get a flop which pays them a fortune. And they get him in the extravagantly gay Roger de Bris who finds his perfect embodiment in Nathan Lloyd.

Taking the part of Franz Liebkind, the outrageous old Nazi who pens  a musical called Springtime for Hitler on which the whole theatrical scam is based, is Joe Scatley. He goes deliciously over the top with the role, which is exactly what is called for.

The supporting team of around 30 people provide powerful and tuneful back-up for the main characters.

Particularly memorable are the team of nymphomaniac grannies who are Bialystock’s willing backers in more ways than one.

The whole crazy romp culminates in a grand finale piece of Springtime for Hitler which brings a spectacular touch of Broadway to Llangollen Town Hall, despite the straight arm salutes and swaztikas.   

Musical director Elen Mair Roberts shines as usual at the head of a versatile six-piece band.

It was Nia Pickering’s first time as artistic director but on this showing it won’t be the last.

The Producers is on at the Town Hall again tonight  (Wednesday) and also Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings with a matinee on Saturday.

I’m told tickets are becoming as scarce as honesty amongst Bialystock and Bloom, so if you want to see it you’d better make sure you grab some as soon as you can.

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