top of page

The Producers as presented by Oyster Lane Theatre Group

The Producers, as presented by Oyster Lane Theatre Group: 

Date of Adjudicated Performance: Wednesday 29th November, 2023. 

A venue such as The National Opera House, Wexford almost demands that a company make a very special effort with their presentation, regardless of the type of show, and I’m very pleased to report that Oyster Lane Theatre Group rose to the challenge by filling that wonderful stage with a resplendent set and a stunning array of perfectly appropriate costumes to give The Producers all that such a show requires.

The Mel Brooks masterpiece falls into a category that comprises, 42nd Street, Singing in the Rain, Anything Goes and Crazy For You, the big theatrical showcases that cry out for spectacle, glitz and glamour, and that’s exactly what Oyster Lane had to offer.

Director Stephen Actor, took a safe approach in presenting the show just as one might have expected Mel Brooks himself to have presented it, and in so doing, there was little to criticize. It all worked beautifully, with one small caveat. By its nature, The Producers flourished on being scandalously risqué and more than a little outrageous, and I’m not at all sure that today’s audiences are quite as outraged as in days of yore, leaving the script and the comedy feeling slightly dated or jaded. This is why, despite a luxuriously stylish production, I felt myself longing for a bit more of Stephen Acton’s personal energy and individuality to influence the production. That said, I can only adjudicate what he did, not what he didn’t do, and what he did was to deliver a wonderfully tight and meticulously executed show.

As well as excellent and lavish sets, the show benefitted from efficient stage management, under SM, Colin Murphy and his team, ensuring an uninterrupted flow of action. A myriad of well-selected props also graced the settings, with great attention to detail. Good lighting, with sharp focus and good balance of colours and effects, enhanced the on-stage action and the sound system was tip-top throughout.

But a polished presentation counts for little if it’s let down by poor performances. No such worries here. Paudie Breen as Bialystock and Conor Lyons as Bloom were as joined at the hip and as dynamic a duo as Morecambe and Wise, Abbot and Costello or Hope and Crosby. Paudie had all the schmaltz and schmooze, while Conor had the panache and the pizazz. As soloists, they made a big impact, especially with Bloom’s I Wanna Be a Producer and Bialystock’s Betrayed, but it was as a team that they shone most brightly, bouncing off of each other with perfectly timed and delivered comedy. While many of the other characters made sizeable impacts on the show, it was these two who knitted it all together.

Roisin Currid provided the allure of femininity to the tale with a scintillating performance as Ulla, deliciously suggestive in her movement, top-notch in her comedy and robust in her vocal ability. When you’ve got It, Flaunt it! And she certainly did.

Ronan P. Byrne played the ridiculous Franz Liebkind with great comedy, a strong physical presence and a voice and accent that were perfect for the role. Der Guten Tag Hop-Clop was delightfully silly and matched by an equally zany Haben Sie Gehort Das Deutsche Band.

Not to be outdone in the silliness scale, Kevin Reade, both as the all-singing, all-dancing Hitler of Springtime, and as third rate director, Roger DeBris, commanded the stage with self-assurance, swagger and charisma. He looked splendid in his Chrysler Building gown.

When it comes to ‘Keeping it Gay”, streets ahead of all around him was Michael Cruz’s

camper-than-a-boy’s-scout-jamboree performance as Carmen Ghia. Lighter on his feet than a lemon soufflé and just as tart and tangy, this was a very funny performance from a very talented performer.

The elegant and charming Majella Londra transformed herself into a sex-crazed geriatric in the role of Hold Me-Touch Me with great comedic effect, making the most of the exaggerated character, and she was strongly supported by Ruth Kirwan as Lick Me-Bite Me and Caroline O’Connell as Kiss Me-Feel Me.

Daniel Furlong conformed delightfully to the stereotype of the blonde haired, Aryan, Nazi Youth soldier, and added good vocal quality and stage presence to his solo in Springtime For Hitler.

Brandon Cogley, Michael O’Gorman, Michael Smith and Rebecca Rice added flounce and fun to the Keep It Gay sequences as Kevin, Bryan, Scott and Shirley, getting good comedy from their characterizations.

Whether as theatre patrons or as dancing grannies or Nazis, the chorus gave 100% to all of their involvement in the show. Their standard of dance and movement was very high, courtesy of excellent choreography from Jonny Smith, who painted the stage with flashy tap routines, sparkling chorus lines and ever-changing patterns and pictures.

Harmony and Diction were the keys to success for the vocal choruses, with Musical Director, Patrick Clancy, having everyone well-disciplined and in-tune. He was equally successful in presenting a comfortable, confident and precise orchestra who played the show with vigour and vitality, making the overall musical impact of the show a tremendous accomplishment.

Everything about this Oyster Lane Theatre Group production hit the target, making it slick and entertaining, true to the era and certainly very pleasing to a most appreciative audience. My sincere thanks to all concerned for the hospitality and for the wonderful theatrical experience.

Peter Kennedy, Gilbert Adjudicator

Some photos kindly shared by the society - Photographer - Paula Malone Carty


bottom of page