The Producers is known as one of the most successful Broadway musicals in recent memory. Its life began in 1968 as a movie for which comic genius Mel Brooks won the Academy Award for best original screenplay.
The Producers remains one of the most popularly and critically successful musicals ever made.
Now recognised as a cult classic I had the pleasure of watching a local performance from the cast of the Walton & Weybridge Amateur Operatic Society at the Cecil Hepworth Playhouse in Walton on Thames. Showing from Tuesday 9th to Saturday 13th May.
The plot is simple enough: Producer Max Bialystock, who was once the toast of Broadway, trades sexual favours with old ladies for cash contributions. Max’s new accountant Leo Bloom offhandedly muses that if Max found investors for a new production that turned into a flop, he could legally keep all the extra money. The duo scheme a plot to become millionaires by putting on the worst flop Broadway’s ever seen titled “Springtime for Hitler”
For a local production, The Producers cast brought professionalism, laughter and entertainment to the audience at the playhouse and I felt an outstanding performance for all involved.
Admittedly, the playhouse is not your west end glamour with the chandeliers, stalls and circle, a little tweaking with the sound system wouldn’t go a miss but overall a really fun night out without the stress of the west end traffic.
The cast had some stand out leading performers: The lovely Swedish Ulla played by Harriet Langdown brought some flirtatious fun to the stage, whilst Franz Liebkind played by Lee Power showed us some hilarious lines from this much loved, slightly controversial show.
The leading gentlemen Max Bialystock (James Palmer) and Leo Bloom (Lewis Padgett) had the audience held in the storyline from start to finish with the help of hugely enthusiastic cast.
I would certainly visit the playhouse for another performance from the WWAOS.
With a bar onsite I was happy to enjoy a chilled glass of Prosecco at a bonus price of £4 a glass.
The Playhouse was originally part of the Hepworth Film Studios and later turned into a theatre in 1924 after the studios closed. The building was bequeathed by cinema pioneer Cecil Hepworth for the benefit of local dramatic societies.
The Playhouse was extensively refurbished by Elmbridge Borough Council in 2012 (BBC, 2012) and renamed the Cecil Hepworth Playhouse.
Today the Cecil Hepworth Playhouse is the most prominent arts venue in Walton-on-Thames with distinctive 1920’s features. It is available for public and private hire and equipped for professional theatrical, dance and music productions.