Johnno

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Springtime for Hitler



Tuesday night saw me going to see Mel Brooks Aussie version of "The Producers" at the Lyric theatre in Downtown Sydney. It was the last week of the Australian production and seats were sold out months ago.

I've been a fan of Brooks for some time and have wanted to see the movie for a while but it wasn't available on DVD downunder. Now it is.... so I'll suppose I'll have to get it someday. I have a copy of the book, the 2,000 year old man and saw Blazing Saddles more times than I can remember. Get Smart is one of my favourite TV shows using a lot of the old vaudeville gags and bringing them to the small screen.

There was also a Canadian friend of mine who outlined the story for me and sang a few bars of "Spring time for Hitler in Germany, Winter for Poland and France." which on the surface sounds a little sinister but when you know the full story it is hilarious.I was sold.

Veteran Aussie showman Reg Livermore played Max Bialistock and stole the show, Tom Burlinson played Bloom and stole the show, Tony Sheldon played the gay director Roger deBris and stole the show, his assistant Carmen Ghia played by Grant Piro stole the show, , Bert Newton playing Franz Liebkind stole the show and the wonderful Chloe Dallimore playing Ulla was also a show stealer. What a cast! I actually read a few reviews and all the above actors are said to have "Stolen the show."..... which says something about the casting agents I suppose, it's the best ensemble I've seen since a Tarantino movie. Brooks actually cast Livermore and Burlinson, and what a great choice they were.

Just a note for the Aussies, Bert Newton (who is sort of similar to Johnny Carson down here) was unrecognizable as "Bert", he was that good. He WAS Franz Liebman the Nazi sympathiser, sitting on his roof with his pigeons sporting swastika armbands.

The songs were outrageous, the song and dance numbers including a German finale, complete with frauliens parading down glittering stairs with giant bratwursts, beer-steins and pretzels...... high kicking SS brownshirts and an ice blond baritone singing "Springtime for Hitler" were over the top. A camp Hitler shrugging and mincing around suggestively makes one believe that laughter sometimes is the best weapon against despots. Along the same lines I saw a doco on Charlie chaplin with a few clips from his fil "The Great Dictator" which used a similar theme.

An ensemble of "grannies" tap dancing with walking frames was clever.

Too many highlights to list.

It was a fabulous show and no doubt will be a feature musical of amateur companies for years to come. And in true showbiz fashion Brooks sells the schtick, "Most awarded show ever!"

I'm wondering when a similar show about the current Bush clan will surface?

2 Comments:

  • Original "The Producers" with Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel remains one of the funniest and most memorable movies ever. Gotta see it...

    By Anonymous Winston, at 8:25 pm  

  • I was lucky enough to score a ticket to "The Producers" when it was in previews in New York in 2001. The audience was filled with those of us who knew the film backward and forward - no one was disappointed with the musical rendition (and who would be with Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick and cast?).

    I tell you - when those old ladies came out on the walkers and used them as a tap-dancing effect, well, I completely lost it. THE funniest moment in my years of going to Broadway.

    And the other bonus - Mel Brooks actually dressed out and did the line he recorded on the cast album in the "Springtime" number: "Don't be stupid, be a smarty. Come and join the Nazi Party." The audience went wild.

    Glad you saw it - glad you liked it. A truly memorable evening in the theatre!

    By Blogger MaryB, at 3:07 pm  

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