Last night I had the privilege of seeing the Ipswich Musical Theatre Company's production of The Producers at the Ipswich Civic Center. A small but very appreciative audience enjoyed the show, and the hard work that was obviously put in.
Under the Musical Direction of Brenda Ryan the orchestra perfect, and is more than you could expect for an amateur production. The soaring melodies and fun tunes will have you tapping your toes. The hard working chorus sound great, and this young cast sound more mature than they look. Ruth Gabriel, as Director, brings life to the stage. With lighting hits and misses the actors are sometimes bathed in darkness, but this does not dimmer the mood of the production.
Bruce Edwards as Max Bialystock makes the role his own. His great voice and acting abilities really get you involved in his character. Likewise Neil Twiddle as Franz Liebkind stole the performance, his comedic timing, acting and dancing lifted the audience and he achieved what was the biggest applause of the night.
Brendan Dieckmann disappoints as Leo Bloom. While his acting shines, his singing and dancing abilities leave you wanting more. Winona Thyssen's portrayal of Ulla leaves little impact, and as the only female lead in an all male production, she does stand out for the wrong reasons. With more experience, both these performers will be names to look for in amateur theater circles.
Special mention of Andrew Bell and Ryan Richards as Roger DeBris and Carmen Ghia are important. Although stilted, they play the "gay" role very effectively, garnering much laughter.
The choreography is brilliant with Ruth Gabriel and Sandra Breen sharing the role. The theme of the show seemed to be "Tap Dancing", as most numbers included tap in some form.
With set design by Ken Mundt and Scenic Design by Wendy Harrington the show has amazing backdrops and quick scene changes, meaning there is no drag and the show seems to fly by.
The Producers by Ipswich Musical Theatre Company is an excellent production. Sleek and polished, the show is not to be missed. With a very limited season (only three shows), you do not want to miss the closing performance, which is sure to bring down the house.
With the few casting mis-fires, this amateur production is as good as, if not better than the current offerings around South East Queensland, and is worth the drive to Ipswich to check it out.