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The Producers

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Question 10 Michael Brooks 11V On the 3rd of November, 2006 I saw The Producers at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. The Producers is a west-end musical based on the 1968 film. It follows the story of two directors, Bialystock (played by Cory English) and Bloom (played by Reece Shearsmith) who attempt to put on a show that is a total flop, realizing they can make 'more money from a flop than a hit'. The comic piece was extremely entertaining, being a visual excitement filled with hilarious moments. The scene I will focus on is where Ulla (played by Rachel McDowell) auditions to be in the forthcoming musical singing her own song "When you've got it, flaunt it". A soft yellow/white wash swept the stage, which, when mixed with the more intense white wash, gave the effect of indoor lighting. Soft spotlights were shone into the centre of stage to focus the audience's attention to the action happening in the centre of the stage. At this focused centre stage, English and Shearsmith were seated on a copper-coloured sofa looking expectantly at McDowell, who was standing by a piano on stage right. ...read more.


A side step to stage left, and McDowell was by a desk, where she unfastened the single button on her coat and placed the coat on a desk in one swift movement. Throughout McDowell's slow, but sure, travel from stage right to left, English and Shearsmith followed McDowell with their gaze, showing they were in awe of her beauty. Their simultaneous movements of head, eyes and shoulders was particularly amusing, as it showed how enthralled the characters were by this woman. Impersonation is always a humorous technique to use in a performance and McDowell did a fabulous job of playing a Swedish lady. Visually, she was tall, beautiful with blonde hair; very stereotype of a Swedish woman. McDowell commanded her voice brilliantly to show a Swedish accent; v's were pronounced as w's and u's were said for twice as long as would be regular. Choreography and timing were key for entertainment in this point of the play and this was done brilliantly as McDowell continued her song-and-dance routine. ...read more.


She was now to continue her song with more intimacy with the two men, being so close to them. She is oblivious to English's perverse, whereas the audience realise it. This is a comic dramatic irony, where the audience laughed at the naivety of 'Ulla'. McDowell then swung her leg slowly in the air, which gave a flash of her undergarments. English's head instantly dropped as he stared at her crotch. McDowell noticed this and then placed a finger on the underside of his chin, rising it up, so his gaze was no longer focussed on her crotch, and she let off a nervous laugh. Using repetition, McDowell later in the song was standing stage right and asked they two men if they "remember when Ulla dance". They both replied concurrently with a prolonged, excited 'yes'. McDowell then clapped her hands and gleefully stated "Ulla dance again!". This entire section was particularly amusing and extremely entertaining with its combination of costume, staging, impersonation, sexual humour, song and choreography. It was very unfortunate that The Producers closed on the west end, as it was a brilliantly done musical that should've run for ever - and longer. ...read more.

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