The enormously successful Mel Brooks musical, The Producers, arrived in Manchester this week and the Palace Theatre hosted the Gala Premiere.
I was invited as a guest with the Grand Opera House for the night ahead of it travelling over to Belfast on the 4-9 May.
Before the show was pre theatre drinks in the Stage Door bar, but after spotting a red carpet and a Hitler pigeon outside on the way in, we quickly figured that it would be much more fun outside spotting the Manchester celebs arrive. So off we went!
And they came in their droves, starting with Rebecca Adlington and her husband, Kym Marsh with her mum and dad, Noddy Holder, Anthony Cotton, Lisa Riley, Robin Windsor, Hayley Tamaddon and Joe Tracini amongst those we spotted. Many there to support their friend and local lad Jason Manford and also Louie Spence.
Then it was showtime
The Producers follows the story of a corrupt producer Max Bialystock (Cory English) who recruits a feckless yet lovable accountant Leo Bloom (Jason Manford) to co-produce a flop. They have figured out a massive flop could actually make them money, so they set out to find the worst play ever written with the worst director in town. And they find their flop, ‘Springtime for Hitler’ by Franz Liebkind (Phill Jupitus). Oh and yes that includes swastikas, armbands and heiling hands, but all in the campest possible way.
Roger De Bris (David Bedella) is recruited as the worst director, Ulla (Tiffany Graves) is recruited as their worst actress/secretary. Louie Spence plays Carmen Ghia and lives up to Roger De Bris’ mantra that shows should ‘Keep it gay’. And Olivier Award winning David Bedella (Roger), after a ‘break a leg’ moment, ends up playing the campest and funniest Hitler you’ll ever see.
Jason Manford has a shockingly great voice and plays his character Leo quite superbly alongside the mind blowingly energetic and awesome Cory English. Every time they both appeared on stage together the comedy pairing felt perfect.
This touring production has a stellar cast and they weren’t there just for their status, the talent everywhere on stage was stellar.
Chatting with the cast
Post show we went back in to the stage door bar and spent night mingling and the cast where keen to tell us that they couldn’t wait get to Belfast.
David Bedella was last here with the Rocky Horror Show and loved the city. Phill Jupitus is coming back on a mission to actually visit Giant’s Causeway. Tiffany Graves was excited about visiting for the first time, but concerned that a week of Belfast hospitality would wreak havoc with her waistline (she’s the one in a bikini on stage!). Andrew Gordon-Watkins last spent a few months here for the panto and raved about the city.
By 2am we said our goodbyes to a fantastic show and a great gala night. Waking up the next morning wasn’t so easy and I immediately thought of all the cast who were still partying when we left and who had to get up and do two performances today. Now that’s showbiz!
The Producers comes to the Grand Opera House on the 4-9 May 2015. Book your tickets here, and quickly, because this is sure to be a sell out show.