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‘Curtains’ is a Kander and Ebb musical I hadn’t seen, or even heard of before and with the unlikely plot of a murder happening during rehearsal for a stage production of a Western, it made for an entertaining couple of hours for both musical fans and those who enjoy a ‘who-dunnit’.

The set was good, made in house again- well done- and the company bows to the imaginary audience at the back of the stage worked really well. From the audience point of view it did feel as though we were looking on from the wings as the cast took their bows.  The curtained ‘boxes’ on either side of the stage were a great idea. 

Jack Griffin managed to not only direct it but also to take a lead role and he did both extremely well. He played the part of Aaron convincingly and he has a notable singing voice.

Choreography may have been ‘unnoticeable’ in the Broadway production but it wasn’t in the Hatton one – it was super! Charlie Booker had everyone involved and had catered for the range of dancing ability on stage splendidly.

The opening number was good and introduced the less than talented Jessica. A fun part for Paula Gething and she made the most of it.

Bee Wilkinson was excellent as Carmen Bernstein, and Tara Cimino gave a most accomplished performance as Georgia. Both ladies had first class accents and impressive stage presence. 

Amanda gave yet another confident performance as Jenny Harman and the role of Sidney Bernstein, for whom Carmen had little, if any, respect was safe in Mike’s hands.

Harriet Law was especially good as Bambi, who despite her mother’s derisory remarks persevered until she got the opportunity to show what she could do, and what an unexpected and faultless routine she produced!

As Niki, Ellie McMahon gave a charming performance and her dance routine with Cioffi was beautifully executed. 

Lieutenant Cioffi, who turns out to be as much into musicals as sleuthing, was strongly portrayed by Graham Hope.

Nigel Smith gave a good performance as the eccentric Englishman Christopher Belling but Clive Walker could have been rather more unpleasant as the caustic theatre critic Daryl Grady.

This was a real company show and the numerous roles were played competently. Chorus numbers were strong and I noted that the ladies were constantly smiling – it makes such a difference! American accents through the company were credible and the chorus were involved and confident in their actions.

‘Tough Act’ was nicely staged with the chorus wearing cream dresses, and the use of the large white feather fans was attractive in ‘It’s a Business’- after which the ladies had quite a quick change into their costumes for the Square Dance.

I very much enjoyed the scene with the sheets and the cast popping out above and below, also the ‘waves’. The ensemble dramatic rendition of ’The Woman’s Dead’  and the quartet ‘What Kind of Man’ were notable too.

The Musical Director Adam Blosse surprised the audience by singing to open the second act and as MD he controlled the 11 piece orchestra superbly. The musical style was bold with plenty of brass but it didn’t become too loud for comfort, and despite the songs being unknown the melodies felt familiar and were catchy.

Costumes were very good – convincingly 50’s day dresses, and the rehearsal outfits were suitable too. I loved Carmen’s purple and pink negligee and I noted that the girls wore a splendid array of matching and appropriate shoes. Hairstyles, wigs and make-up were fine.

Lighting was good and especially realistic when the performers were ‘on stage’ in ‘Robbin’ Hood’ but there were some problems with interference in the sound department from time to time.

Your programme is attractive and novel but I did find it a little difficult to read the black writing on a grey background.

It was lovely to meet Jack and Adam in the interval and also Jakub who kindly changed my ticket at short notice. 

The production team did a great job with this little known musical – a pity it didn’t sell better as it proved to be extremely entertaining.

Thank you for inviting me to see the show. Thanks also to Chris on FOH and also to Elizabeth who looked after me so well in the interval.

I wish you all at HMT a wonderful Christmas and a happy, healthy and theatrical 2020! 

E. Gloria Smith.

NODA South East Regional Representative – District 12