Review of Curtains The Musical at Palace Theatre Manchester
The musical Curtains starting Jason Manford has arrived in Manchester and were invited along to check it out. Here is what we thought.
Curtains (set in the late 1950’s) centres around a murder that takes place on the (critically panned) opening night of a Broadway bound musical: Robbin Hood. Jason Manford plays the lovable, bumbling detective, Frank Cioffi who arrives at the theatre to solve the puzzling crime. Before long, Frank is as obsessed with saving the failing show as he is with finding the killer whilst all the while the body count keeps rising. It’s worth mentioning here that we went to this musical with a degree of trepidation.
Having seen Manford as a stand- up comedian and most recently in BBC’s Scarborough, we were unsure how his talents would transfer to musical theatre. Manford expertly played the role with such a great balance of humour and sensitivity that it truly felt that it was made for him. He was simply brilliant and we were singing his praises long after we left the theatre.
Manford’s co-stars include Hollyoaks star Carley Stenson and Strictly Come Dancing winner, Ore Oduba, who play musical composers Georgina Hendricks and Aaron Fox. Once a couple, the pair long to be reunited but, despite being able to write beautiful love songs, they are unable to tell each other their true feelings once the music stops. Their love story, along with the developing romance between Cioffi and Niki Harris (Leah West) make for an exciting subplot and kept us hoping, until the end, that everyone would get their happily ever after.
The main plot, obviously focusses around the unfolding murders and right up until the final ‘reveal’ the audience were left desperately trying to work out whodunnit- I won’t spoil this part for you, all I will say is, we were both very wrong!
Curtains is jam packed full of classic Broadway tunes, which were written by John Kander and Fred Ebb- the composers behind Cabaret and Chicago. We were blown away by the songs. They were catchy and tightly performed by a phenomenal cast. Our personal favourites were, the man is Dead, He did it and A Tough Act to Follow – all of which would have stood their own on a West End or Broadway stage.
The singing was accompanied by some fantastic choreography and impressive scenery- the giant staircases that Manford and West are spun around on by their fellow cast as they sing A Tough Act to Follow, were simple but brilliantly effective and the night ended with a well- deserved standing ovation.
We had a wonderful evening at the show and would highly recommend it to theatre lovers over the age of 12.
Curtains will be showing at The Palace Theatre in Manchester until 12th October when the production will begin its UK tour. For more information and to book tickets see here.