REVIEW: The Producers, Sunderland Empire, Until May 16

COMEDY HIT ... The Producers is at the Sunderland Empire. Cory English as Max Bialystock, Jason Manford as Leo Bloom and Tiffany Graves as Ulla. Photo by Manuel Harlan.
COMEDY HIT ... The Producers is at the Sunderland Empire. Cory English as Max Bialystock, Jason Manford as Leo Bloom and Tiffany Graves as Ulla. Photo by Manuel Harlan.

IT’S safe to say that The Producers is anything but a flop.

The musical comedy, from Mel Brooks, is silly, outrageous and riotously funny.

Brooks based the comedy on his 1968 Academy Award-winning film of the same name.

It follows hard-on-his-luck Broadway producer Max Bialystock (Cory English) who has staged flop after flop.

But after accountant Leo Bloom (Jason Manford) arrives to examine the books and suggests that a producer could potentially make more money with a flop than a hit, a light bulb goes off for Max.

After some persuasion, Leo gets on board with the scheme and the pair sets out to find the worst play ever written.

Manford was a real surprise star for me. I had no idea he could sing, and what a voice he’s got.

His American accent was spot on, his vocals were spectacular and he perfectly captured the overly-nervous persona of Bloom.

Alongside English, the pair was a comedy force to be reckoned with. English’s exaggerated physical comedy was a real plus point.

Fellow comedian Phill Jupitus was hilarious as Springtime For Hitler writer Franz Liebkind.

COMEDY HIT ... The Producers is at the Sunderland Empire. Cory English as Max Bialystock and company. Photo by Manuel Harlan.

COMEDY HIT ... The Producers is at the Sunderland Empire. Cory English as Max Bialystock and company. Photo by Manuel Harlan.

Tiffany Graves was as funny as she was sexy as Swedish actress-turned-secretary Ulla, and David Bedella also got big laughs as director Roger De Bris, alongside Stephane Anelli as his assistant Carmen Ghia.

From slapstick and physical comedy to misunderstanding and satire, The Producers uses every trick in the comedy book to perfection.

Thanks to my dad, I’ve been a Mel Brooks fan for as long as I can remember and this show has certainly cemented itself as a firm favourite.

The film of course was a huge hit, and the musical version stays very true to the things that made it so brilliant.

From slapstick and physical comedy to misunderstanding and satire, The Producers uses every trick in the comedy book to perfection.

The added songs are fantastic, but the story is slightly different, keeping things fresh for those who think they know what’s coming.

The Springtime For Hitler section was absolutely side-splitting, and songs like Keep It Gay, When You’ve Got It, Flaunt It and I Want To Be A Producer were fantastic.

English’s rendition of Betrayed, which sees him recap the whole show, was a real stand out performance.

Don’t be stupid, be a smarty and see The Producers while it’s in town this week.

The Producers runs at the Sunderland Empire until Saturday, May 16. Click here to book tickets.

Twitter: @ShieldsGazVicki

Phill Jupitus as Franz Liebkind.

Phill Jupitus as Franz Liebkind.

Springtime For Hitler!

Springtime For Hitler!