Based on the original book and concept by Peter Stone, the musical is a send-up of backstage murder mystery plots, set in 1959 Boston, Massachusetts and follows the fallout when the supremely untalented star of Robbin’ Hood of the Old West is murdered during her opening night curtain call. It is up to Lt. Frank Cioffi, a police detective who moonlights as a musical theater fan to save the show, solve the case, and maybe even find love before the show reopens, without getting killed himself. The show opened on Broadway to mixed reviews, though several critics praised the libretto and the character of Lieutenant Cioffi, who famed critic Ben Brantley called “the best damn musical theatre character since Mama Rose in ‘Gypsy’, and the best role of David Hyde Pierce’s career.”
Cast & Creative
|Jessica Cranshaw||Lottie Walker|
|Musical Director||Dave Roberts|
|Production Manager||Hannah Reynolds|
|Stage Manager||Charlotte Priestly|
|Lighting Design||Mike Bradbury|
|Sound Design||Stuart Vaughan|
|Front of House||Clare Henderson Roe|
|Box Office||Lizzie Brignall|
|Set designer||Wesley Henderson-Roe|
Reviews & Awards
- Nominated SWAN Award Best Supporting Female Performer in a Musical – Bonnie Allen
- Nominated SWAN Award Best Supporting Female Performer in a Musical – Clair Jardella
- Nominated SWAN Award Best Supporting Male Perfromer in a Musical – Andy Clarke
- Nominated SWAN Award Best Male Performer in a Musical – Nick Moorhead
- Nominated SWAN Award Best Musical Production
Hampton Hill Playhouse
11 October 2012
With a billing as a ‘Musical Comedy Whodunit’ from the creators of Cabaret and Chicago and performed by BROS, it is not surprising that Curtains was a sell-out show at the Hampton Hill Playhouse and deservedly so.Stylishly directed and ingeniously designed by Wesley Henderson Roe with choreography by Jennifer Wettone, this was a great introduction for many to this musical send up of the genre of backstage murder mysteries, which has yet to be performed on the West End stage.
As with many BROS shows, one of the joys of this production was the ensemble. The numbers for the full company were outstanding both vocally and choreographically, especially in Act I, ‘The Woman’s Dead’ and ‘In the same Boat’ in the second Act – complex music, immaculately sung, together with some very smart and slick dance routines.
As in ‘Kiss me Kate’ and ‘Noises Off’ we are treated to both to backstage and on stage action. The transmission between the two sets was well managed, with the help of two ‘character’ stagehands, Berni Messenger and Ian Nethersell, and the changes of scene meshed well.
In the stage show, the leading lady dies during the curtain call, the production gets bad reviews and this leads to a repositioning of the cast and show’s writers and producers with the lyricist being pressed into service to replace the now deceased lead. Cue the entry of the excellent Andy Clarke as the stage-struck detective in charge of the investigation who immediately takes over the production, falls in love with one of the actresses, finally several murders on, solves the mystery (and gets his girl!). As the object of his affections, Aggie Holland sang delightfully but her portrait of the young girl in her first production was slightly marred by a tendency to gabble in the dialogue. There was fine singing from Nick Moorhead and Tracy Sorgiovanni as the show’s composer and lyricist – the most ‘normal’ and believable characters in the mix. Marc Batten enjoyed himself as the camp English director, who was continually overruled by the detective. Clair Jardella was formidable as the producer and ultimate antithesis of ‘Mrs. Worthington’, whilst Bonnie Allen, the daughter who changed her name to ‘Bambi’ ‘because her mother was shot’, put over her lines tellingly and well.
Of course all ends happily; the baddy get his comeuppance, but please don’t shoot all critics! This was another great show from BROS and a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Congratulations to all involved.
Marie Stokes – ArtsRichmond