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Wiseman's House House Play 2012 - ‘The Producers’

Thursday 16 February 2012, 9.00PM

It has now been a few hours since I sat in the audience watching Wiseman's House play, but my jaw and stomach are still aching and I am pretty sure they will be tomorrow. I am very nearly lost for words after the rollercoaster ride that was The Producers, which doesn't happen to me very often. Excellently led and directed by Alex Bull, with Brian Yeh co-directing and Nicholas Cheung co-leading, The Producers was an all-encompassing comedy presenting the tale of Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom, played by Bull and Cheung respectively, who attempt to produce the worst play on Broadway in order to make a fortune from the funds raised for the flop.

The staging was simple, yet effective, and the diversity of the positioning of various pieces of set made this feel like a professional production. The use of the front row of seats in the “play within a play” scene was particularly effective, as we felt as though we were the audience watching the play in the play, confusing, I know! Using the stage curtain was an inspired idea, and the use of the side door of the theatre was particularly effective; something in my four years at Clifton I have never seen done before.

The music and lights were effective, and the music for the “Springtime for Hitler” scene was particularly so. The stage was used well in the audition sequence also, and the audience got the sense that this well-oiled production had been rehearsed and put together extremely efficiently. Costumes were also very impressive with great attention to detail.

The supporting actors in this cast were astounding, leading them Vassily Korznikov playing the Nazi sympathiser Franz Liebkind who spoke with a perfect German accent throughout, and presented a brilliantly comical and mentally disturbed performance. The double act of Dmytro Grygoryev and Calum Wilson as Carmen Ghia and Rodger De Bris respectively were also hilarious and had the audience and myself in stitches several times in the play. Gasan Guseynov played an excellently mental Lorenzo St. DuBois (L.S.D) and I am not sure anyone will be able to forget his dancing in the audition scene. The women of this play also did an excellent job of being women, convincingly carrying off high voices and high heels, in particular Jens Lasrado.

The highlight of the play, however, had to be the supreme comic timing and acting of the main characters. Alex Bull was impossibly energetic throughout, putting his all into every single moment. His stage presence alone would have been enough to carry off the character but he added something more, and created an easily watchable main character. Nicholas Cheung, playing the pathetic sidekick had, from the moment he stepped on to the stage an impossible kind of aura. He managed to talk through his body and facial expressions as well as his perfectly timed lines, and it seemed his every line in the first scene was met with a few seconds of thunderous laugher from the audience.

Although Wiseman’s were a little over the time limit of 50 minutes, they produced the kind of stage play where you forgot that you were just watching students, and just became totally immersed in the comedy and drama. Very impressive – well done boys!

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