Production title: The Producers
Director: Joseph Pitcher
Cast: Alan Committie, Richard White, Terence Bridgett, Earl Gregory, Raquel Munn, Schoeman Smit & ensemble
Venue: Theatre on the Bay until March 28
Reviewer: Rafiek Mammon
When in the media, one receives many e-mails from theatres claiming that their show is the “hottest in town”. Theatre on the Bay also claims it with ‘The Producers’. The difference is, they are correct. ‘The Producers’ is slick and sophisticated.
New life is injected into the Mel Brooks’ story of a defeated Broadway producer who, together with his “creative” accountant, comes up with a grand scheme to make a success of their lives in the theatre. And, who better than Alan Committie to lead this strong ensemble cast?
Committie’s career has an interesting trajectory. He has gone from comedy one-man shows to playing Richard III and now, in the role of the washed-up Broadway producer, Max Biallystock, he is simply sublime. Busy, but sublime. Sweaty, but sublime. I remember when I first started writing theatre reviews, I wouldn’t miss a thing Committie created. I would go to a cubbyhole if Committie was performing in it. We have seen him sharing his pearls and flexing his comedic muscles in his comedy shows and now he sings, dances and shows off his impeccable comedic timing with absolute style.
Then there is dear Terence Bridgett who, on any stage or screen, is always a treat. He too, has played the gamut from the very butch to the campest queen in town. No prizes for guessing whether he dons a frock or a pair of tailor-made male trousers for this one. Perhaps even both – as only he is able? Suffice to say, he is pure delight as the high-spirited theatre director, Roger Debris. Bridgett and Earl Gregory (as his sidekick, Carmen Ghia) make a formidable pair.
The cherry on top of the two aforementioned familiar cakes, is undoubtedly Schoeman Smit who brings a freshness and verve to the role of Franz Liebkind. Anyone who has seen the film will remember that it is played by Will Ferrell. In steps Smit and Ferrell is nothing but a distant memory. Richard White and Raquel Munn complete the leads – each of them turning in stellar performances as the geeky accountant, Leo Bloom and the Swedish bombshell, Ulla, respectively.
Kudos to Duane Alexander, the show’s choreographer – another person who has been in this industry for a long time and who, without fail, delivers new-fangled, entertaining and very watchable work. His zimmer frames sequence and tap routines are particular delights.
Promise you: a trip to Theatre on the Bay will certainly not be amiss.
* Tickets are available from Computicket, with discounts for groups, students and senior citizens.