Review of Curtains - A Musical Whodunnit - Darlington Hippodrome
By Andrew Harrison - Arts critic
AS soon as the overture began, the recognisable sound of Kander and Ebb filled the auditorium and I knew that this was going to be a special night in musical theatre. Curtains, A Musical Whodunnit was the last musical Kander and Ebb worked on together before Ebb’s death in 2004.
Curtains is a multi-layered show within a show. The show begins with the opening night of Robin Hood, a production destined for Broadway, and the murder of Jessica Cranshaw, Nia Jermin. This leaves the entire cast and crew suspects and unable to leave the theatre under the command of Lieutenant Cioffi, Jason Manford. As the production is panned by critics the Lieutenant jumps from solving the murder, of which more follow, and trying to save Robin Hood from closing, due to his love of theatre. Add to the mix a couple of romantic elements and this musical is a slick, fast paced show which has so many twists and turns, it kept me on the edge of my seat right to the final curtain.
This is the perfect vehicle for Jason Manford, who of course is no stranger to big musicals. He instantly connected with the audience drawing them into his world. The other stand out performance was the director of Robin Hood Christopher Belling, Samuel Holmes, he has some of the wittiest lines which are delivered to perfection.
With rapid fire wit, delightful choreography and the darkness of Kander and Ebb this musical makes for a perfect night’s entertainment. Fantastic for Darlington to have it on tour before it hits the West End.
Runs at Darlington Hippodrome until Saturday 16th November.