Sunday, 5 April, 2020

Review: Curtains Whodunnit Musical Tour, Regent Theatre

The murder-mystery musical Curtains starring comedian Jason Manford has arrived at The Regent Theatre.

Curtains The Musical / ©The Other Richard

From the creators of Cabaret and Chicago, the Tony Award-winning musical backstage murder mystery musical Curtains has arrived in Stoke and it stars Jason Manford.

Curtains is based on the original book and concept by Peter Stone.

The musical comedy Curtains, set in 1959 Boston, tells the story of Jessica Cranshaw (played by Nia Jermin), star of the new Broadway-bound musical Robbin Hood, who has been murdered on stage on opening night.

Spoiler alert. The entire cast and crew are suspects.

A local detective, Frank Cioffi (played by Jason Manford), investigates the case and just happens to be a huge musical theatre fan. With a nose for crime and an ear for music, Frank has his work cut out trying to find the killer whilst giving the show a lifeline.

Despite being a musical, most of the numbers were sadly forgettable when it came to remembering the lyrics, although the choregraphy was pretty epic.

Curtains The Musical / ©The Other Richard

There were many performances in the show that had beautiful staging and phenomenal choreography from Alistair David, such as ‘Show People’, ‘The Man Is Dead’ and ‘He Did It’, they were tremendous fun to watch and really showed off the talent within the cast.

The musical had numerous comedic moments with each character given punchlines and delivering them perfectly. Samuel Holmes received the most laughs as director and was one of the stand out characters of the evening, for us. Samuel’s ‘bitchiness’ and perfect comic lines had the audience in stitches throughout the show.

There were a few scenes in which the characters spoke to members of the press in the audience, or in this case ‘critics’. The show’s producer, Carmen Bernstein (Rebecca Lock) told Frank Cioffi (Jason Manford) that his comment on critics were ‘very nice’, to which Frank said as they both turned to face the theatre: “You never know who might be in the audience,”.

Curtains The Musical / ©The Other Richard

Whilst Jason Manford was the lead in the production and lacked in theatre training compared to the rest of the cast, he did a superb job at playing the role of the local detective with his charm and surprisingly great vocals.

Speaking before touring with the production, he told Shropshire Star: “What I love about Frank is that he’s such a sweet guy, even considering he’s there to solve a murder. He loves theatre but hasn’t had the chance to be on stage, and that’s not dissimilar from how I started.

Curtains The Musical / ©The Other Richard

Jason continued: “I came from a different world, coming from the stand-up comedy and television world and was surrounded by these hugely talented actors and performers, so I can relate to that a bit. There’s something in him that is just fun to play with as an actor.”

Some other honourable mentions: Emma Caffrey who played the dizzy blonde Bambi, Leah Barbara West as wannabe Niki, Carley Stenson as Georgia, and Andy Coxon as Aaron.

Curtains has many twists and turns to keep the audience guessing throughout the murder-mystery storyline with impressive musical numbers and comedic elements that makes for a fun night out at the theatre.

Our review of Curtains Whodunnit Musical is awarded 4 stars out of 5. ★★★★

Runs at Regent Theatre (Stoke) until Saturday, December 7.

Grab your tickets for Curtains Whodunnit Musical in Stoke here.

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