Reviewed by Deborah Mackenzie
Are you ready for an evening of mystery and music? ‘Curtains’ will have you laughing and guessing throughout the show. It is a good old fashion type of whodunit, with a lot of foot tapping with catchy songs.
It takes place in Boston; the year is 1959. At the Colonial Theatre, the cast of ‘Robbin’ Hood’ take their bows on opening night. But when the curtain falls, the extremely untalented leading lady, Jessica Cranshaw also falls; taken to hospital she eventually dies, and it is ruled as murder.
Fast-talking Lieutenant Frank Cioffi (Jason Manford) arrives; he also has a love for musical theatre. He quarantines the cast and crew inside the theatre while he investigates and searches for clues. But he can’t help himself become involved in the show and one of the lovely ladies; he starts offering advice and what he sees as wrong to improve the musical Robbin’ Hood. With only 24 hours, a new leading lady, the Inspector is on the clock to find the killer and put on an improved show.
So, who could it be? Carmen Bernstein, the flashy and feisty producer? Or Christopher Belling, the tawdry and self-centred director? Then there is the lyricist Georgia Hendricks, who has replaced Jessica onstage, or Niki Harris who has a secret? Everyone is a suspect and it seems that only Cioffi can make sense of the evidence.
Some of the classic musical theatre song and dance by Kander and Ebb is varied with some outstanding songs like ‘A Tough Act to Follow’; The Woman’s Dead; Show People and He Did it. Director Paul Foster and choreographer Alistair David brought visual flair through the music and dance numbers of the theatre’s over the top production of Robin Hood western style! I really loved the costumes; the swirling skirts and cowboy attire gave it a feel of freedom and fun. The use of silly puns and finger pointing at each other brought many loud laughs from the audience.
The side story of mother, Carmen Bernstein (Rebecca Lock) and daughter, Bambi Bernet (Emma Caffrey), was a bitter sweet tale of the mother who wants everything for her daughter, but treats her as harsh as nails so she doesn’t let on that she has made the opening for her extremely talented daughter. But her daughter only sees the harshness of her mother, the one who criticizes and brings her down, especially in public. These two actors played their parts faultlessly, and I must admit that Emma Caffrey stole the show for me; her part as Bambi, the ‘dumb blonde’ persona really came over and then was lost as soon as she did the splits, bent double and in other striking ways – not forgetting that her singing was bold and strong.
I would say that this show was for 12+ as some of the puns have some sexual innuendos. But it really was a show to leave the worries of life outside and escape into a fun loving, mystery solving with songs that get your toes tapping.
Tickets cost from £13 (plus £2.85 transaction fee).
Curtains is at the King’s Theatre in Glasgow from 10-14 March 2020, for more information or to book tickets visit www.atgtickets.com/kings or call the box office on 0844 871 7648.
King’s Theatre, 297 Bath Street, Glasgow, G2 4JN | 0844 871 7648