One does not choose to take on Mel Brooks’ The Producers lightly. With hugely successful film and theatre versions to live up to, a multitude of wardrobe changes, risqué content, bordering –on offensive songs, not to mention tap-dancing (which the cast had to learn from scratch), the staging of The Producers was a mammoth task for Director of Drama, Lloyd Beecham. But, based on four nights of completely sold-out shows in Big School and effusive audience feedback, the six months of rehearsing for the boys of Whitgift and the girls of St Andrews’s, Old Palace and Croydon High paid off immensely.
The musical tells the tale of down-and-out theatrical producer Max Bialystock’s encounter with Leo Bloom, a neurotic accountant. Leo (Geddy Stringer) innocently comments that if Max (Stuart Nunn) were to raise money to invest in a play which was guaranteed to fail, they could ‘do a runner’ with the money after the show flops. Max seizes upon the idea and appeals to Leo’s repressed desire to be a Broadway producer to bring him on-board.
What follows is a hilarious comedy caper as Max and Leo recruit some very colourful characters to put together a musical that is going to shock, offend and repel their audience. What could possibly go wrong?
Stuart Nunn and Geddy Stringer, on stage for most of the show, performed faultlessly and with impeccable comic timing – a fantastic double-act. Tom Simpson almost stole the show depicting deranged Hitler-idolising (and pigeon fancying) playwright Franz Liebkind. School captain, Will Tomsett, along with Joseph D’Angelo and Katie Tomsett, also provided hilarious performances which made this production stand out as one of the best Whitgift has staged.