Curtains: The Musical Comedy: Wyndham’s Theatre, London
Reviewed 17th December 2019
From the creators of Cabaret and Chicago Curtains: The Musical Comedy is a hilarious Tony award-winning comedy musical that will have audiences guessing til the very end. When Jessica Cranshaw, star of Broadway-bound musical Robbin’ Hood is murdered onstage detective, and musical fanatic, Frank Cioffi is brought in to solve the case.
Curtains is extremely funny and is full of twists and turns. It is a show that is not afraid to make fun of itself. The innovative mix of a classic ‘whodunit’, a musical within a musical story and lots of clichés works due to the extremely talented cast. The clever direction by Paul Foster and a creative plot keeps the production moving and entertaining throughout. At points, the performance does start to drag slightly and its long running time could be tightened to keep the pace moving at the same rate as the humour. Kander and Ebb’s music is varied with some stand out songs such as ‘The Woman’s Dead’, ‘Show People’ and ‘He Did It‘ which make fun of musicals and the musical performers themselves. The in-jokes and puns about being in ‘showbiz’ work brilliantly and even the least stagey audience will find humour in the brilliant delivery of the witty one liners.
Curtains features a host of well-known names including Jason Manford (The Producers, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Guys and Dolls) who plays detective Frank Cioffi with brilliant humour and, proving that he is more than just a comedian, his vocals are strong. Carley Stenson (Les Miserables, Legally Blonde, Shrek, Spamalot and Hollyoaks) shows off her rich vocals particularly during the touching song ‘Thinking of Him‘. Stealing the show, Rebecca Lock is absolutely hilarious during her throwaway comic lines and she vocally impresses, especially during the song ‘It’s A Business‘. Samuel Holmes is marvellous as British director Christopher Belling – his witty one-liners are delivered with gusto and have the audience laughing out loud. All of the cast are very talented. Emma Caffrey is extremely good as Bambi Bernét especially during the dance section with Alan Burkitt and Andy Coxon wows the audience during the moving song ‘I Miss The Music‘.
The set, designed by David Woodhead, uses a cleverly constructed backdrop of a Boston theatre stage in which the show Robbin’ Hood’s fittingly amateur set pieces are quickly moved in and out. Lighting by Tim Mitchell utilises colour and spot lights to add to the comedy of the show. Gabriella Slade’s detailed costume design is super. The women’s costumes for Robbin’ Hood are particularly impressive with lots of period detail and texture.
Curtains is definitely different to other shows currently on. It is a fun, old-fashioned musical with an interesting concept. It will have audience laughing out loud whilst constantly scratching their head trying to work out who the murderer is. With a clever, witty book and lyrics and some catchy numbers, the show is certainly a great way of getting away from the stresses of everyday life making it a great form of escapism. With an extremely talented cast Curtains is a show not to be missed either in London or around the UK on its tour.
Curtains: The Musical Comedy is playing at the Wyndham’s Theatre, London until the 11th January 2020 before continuing in its UK Tour. For more information click here.
This review was original written for and published by LondonTheatre1.
Photo Credit: Richard Davenport