Ian (lovingboth) wrote,

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The Producers (London stage version)

Good points

The choreography is great. Lots of energy on stage.

The performances are ok to good. I'd have liked to see Nathan Lane, but he dropped out before the end of his (short) run and we now have the original Broadway Franz as Max.

There are some neat theatrical solutions to the problems of staging - for example, we don't see any of the actual play Springtime for Hitler and the audience's applause for the much extended opening song is used for the theatrical reaction to the play.

Some new rude jokes.

Bad points

The highlight of the first act for me was a joke involving a pigeon's wing.

You won't leave humming any of the new songs. Only one of them is good and some of the others get reprised a lot.

Lots of the humour is 'laugh at the queers'. When Roger and Carmen laugh at Max and Leo together, I laughed too. When the Village People (complete with added butch dyke) are introduced one by one as Roger's staff (including one introduced as his choreographer, which we already know Roger does himself) then most of the audience wet themselves laughing. I didn't. I didn't have a problem with the film's version of Roger and Carmen, but here it's endless.

They add a love story. The original film's basically a (non-sexual) love story and doesn't need this one adding.

They lose the hippy actor who plays Hitler - it's now Franz, who gets replaced by Roger. If they were going to change things, I think it'd have been better (= funnier) if it were Ulla.

In the film, you see the audience's horrified initial reaction to SFH - they start to walk out and Max and Leo disappear thinking they've succeeded. Then the bad acting makes the bad play funny. All that's gone - and you've no idea why someone would like it. Similarly, there's no moment of triumph for Max and Leo.

Although lots of the lines from the film are kept, we lose some of my favourites (eg at the visit to Roger and the exchange with the critic at the opening of SFH).

They changed the ending - it's now a "happy" rather than a funny one. You know the film ending: the three of them (Max, Leo, and Franz) end up in jail and are selling several thousand percent of the rights to Prisoners of Love. Here, the warden thinks PoL is so good, he lets Max and Leo out (Franz isn't jailed) and we see that they go on to have hit after hit after hit. Yawn.

The theatre feels like it has never heard of air conditioning and it gets very humid in there. (Perhaps as a result of the above.) To add insult, the ice cream is three quid for a small tub.


I think this - unlike the film - talks down to its audience.

So "I made out the cheque just as you told me, to CASH. That's a funny name for a play..." becomes something like "I made out the cheque to the name of the play. CASH. That's a funny name for a play.." Similarly, all the characters are nicer than they are in the film.

I liked it, but not nearly as much as I think I should have been able to.
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