I love a whodunnit and Curtains is the musical version of a classic murder mystery. Multiple murders, suspects and a detective to reveal the means, motive and opportunity.
A brand new western musical is premiering to terrible reviews, thanks to its shocking leading lady. Until she is rushed to hospital after collapsing backstage. Broadway fanatic, Lieitenant Frank Cioffi, enters and confirms this is, in fact, a murder. The theatre is on lock down until this mystery is solved. Dun, dun, dunnn.
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A motley crew
From the pesky producing team to unhappy writing duo and wannabe star to under appreciated understudy, it’s quickly established everybody hated the recently deceased. But it’s also clear they have their own secrets to hide.
The layered story provides a motley cast to point your finger at. The dialogue is sharp, quick-witted and funny. I only wish there was more of it. The majority of the show fixates around improving the failing musical. All with the help of the musically inclined Lieutenant.
I wanted more murder mystery and surprisingly less musical. The songs need to be catchier and the detective needs to catch more criminals. However, Alistair David’s choreography is a joy to watch. There’s certainly no murder on the dance floor as the group dance numbers bring this show to life. The originality is a visual treat.
The cast and culprits
Jason Manford excels at playing the endearing, passionate and mild mannered detective, Frank Cioffi. Samuel Holmes has cracked the code to comedy with his pompous performance as Director Christopher Belling.
Ore Oduba (Aaron Fox) and Carley Stenson (Georgia Hendricks) left me feeling a little deflated. But Emma Caffrey (Bambi) and Rebecca Lock’s (Carmen Bernstein) comic characterisation is unmissable.
The real strength of this show absolutely lies in the company. Once everybody is on stage together, the energy levels sky rocket.
Whilst I wanted more murder mystery, Curtains remains an entertaining musical with an over the top plot that will have you laughing out loud.
Touring until 20 March 2020. Find more tour information.
Photo credit: Richard Davenport