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Crazy Fun Curtains

Curtains, A musical comedy whodunnit, at The Priory Theatre, Kenilworth, from 7 to 15 July 2023.

Review by Anne Cee.

What a great night full of vim and vigour. Knowing the show was by the creators of 'Cabaret' and 'Chicago' gives some indication of what to expect and you won't be disappointed - the characters, the comedy, the songs and the can-can dancers are all banging.

Director Nicky Main and Musical Director Sam Coates pulled off a big show on a tiny stage with a fantastic bunch of players and creatives that surprises, entertains and delights.

Last night there was a waiting list for tickets, and rightly so. The show opened with a chaotic scene of actors playing actors in a Broadway show, that is going very badly and it all ends disastrously when the terrible 'star' of the show, Jessica Cranshaw (Sue Biddle), is murdered in the curtain call.

The big question is whodunnit? And off we go on a fun romp of a musical detective story.

Enter stage left, one of my favourites of the night, Lieutenant Frank Cioffi (Owen Watts), the fabulous Columbo of the piece, with a terrific voice. With an impressive versatility, Watts delivered on comedy, romance and bumbling top cop - some of his finest moments were when he seemed to slide int Fagin mode, and in his duets with Niki (Rebecca Soley) who played the hapless, innocent throughout. What where fingerprints doing all over the murder weapon?

I also loved the fabulously irritating and self absorbed Bambi (Alice Robertson) who went from strength to strength in the show and delivered a very cheeky dance with real personality in the second half. Her critical mother, the matriarch of the show, Carmen (Sue Morris) played the perfect, cynical foil to Bambi's youthful zeal and was super as the brassy Broadway Producer.

I loved her in 'What Kind of Man?' The bitter quartet Oscar (Kevin Coughlan) Arron (Ben Wellicome) and Georgia (Kim Arnold) in which they damned theatre critics, the idiocy of wanting to be one and the shameful audacity of their bad reviews! Incidentally, the show's manipulative critic, Daryl Brady (Jack Sargeant) was sufficiently and consistently vile to justify their contempt.

Stage Manager Johnny (Alec Brown) had confident stage presence, brilliant timing and Christoper (Chris Arnold) was the English director with lovely comedic style. The dancers expertly choreographed by Sue Biddle managed energetic and raunchy moves in a tiny space. And finally the technical made the adrenalin spike in the danger moments, so hold onto your G&T.


Jul 10, 2023

Just seems such a shame that they cancelled the band in favour of tracks.

Jul 12, 2023
Replying to

It was a hard compromise to free space on stage with over 20 in the cast and do the musical numbers justice. From all accounts the vocal mix with a clear full orchestral accompaniment was perfectly balanced.

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