Another adventure into the world of the Am-Drams, this time Hamilton Operatic & Dramatic Club. Now I’ve seen this at The Theatre Royal Drury Lane with Lee Evans in the starring role so I wasn’t exactly expecting anything on that scale, but, based on their high quality track record I was looking forward to this. The story goes…
“After putting together another Broadway flop, down-on-his-luck producer Max Bialystock teams up with timid accountant Leo Bloom in a get-rich-quick scheme to put on the world’s worst show.”
Well with a cast of 46, a musical ensemble of 18 and 17 scene changes, in a theatre that last hosted Bill Kenwright’s Joseph production, this was a huge undertaking. Apart from a few stray hands creeping out from the curtains to grab bits of scenery, this was approaching professional standards.
The most impressive thing were the singing voices of the two male principals; Gordon Watson as Max Bialystock and Paul Gilliland as Leo Bloom – just fantastic professional quality, both of whom also maintained excellent American accents throughout. Also deserving of a mention were Peter Scally as Franz Liebkind and John Carr and Ray O’Sullivan as Roger De Bris and his “common law assistant” Carmen Ghia. All three appeared to be more than relishing their roles!
The only weak link in the leads was Ulla played by Suzanne Gilliland who had the worst comic Swedish accent – totally unintelligible – now I know this is meant to be a caricature but she needs to be at least clear in the words she’s mangling to get the laughs. The fact that she was short and wearing a really badly fitting wig didn’t help either.
While not matching the 1968 Mel Brooks film for sheer hysteria it was packed with plenty of laughs. Oh and special mention must also go to the fabulous quality of the programme. On the basis of this it will be well worth checking out their future productions. Highly recommended.
all production pics from here