Curtains is written by the same team that brought the world Chicago and Cabaret — which explains the classy feel of this musical whodunit.
A real breath of fresh air if you are looking for a musical with a difference, Curtains brings together the unlikely combination of musical theatre, comedy and murder mystery.
Filled with laugh-out loud moments, it tells the story of a struggling stage show that finds itself at the centre of a murder investigation.
Trapped in the theatre while the investigation takes place, the cast works to improve the disastrous show while theatre-loving Lt Frank Cioffi (Jason Manford) investigates — and suggests improvements.
The exceptional cast inject humour and suspense into the Boston-based drama, while the plotline of a musical within a musical offers plenty of scope for the talented dancers to show just what they can do.
Emma Caffrey as desperate starlet Bambi Bernet, battling in the shadow of her powerful mother Carmen Bernstein (Rebecca Lock) and leading man Bobby Pepper (Alan Burkitt), in particular, use their moment to shine as dancers.
Yet, it is the cast as a whole who are responsible for the sparkling atmosphere that the audience cannot help but be drawn in by. With impressive vocal performances throughout, the songs Thinking of Him and I Miss the Music from the love-torn lyricists Aaron Fox (Andy Coxon) and Georgia Hendricks (Carley Stenson) bring a depth of feeling to the underlying love story with both delivering standout performances.
Lock is exceptional as the strong-willed and charismatic Bernstein, combining wit and a powerful singing voice in It’s a Business and Show People.
Then, of course, there is popular comedian Manford stepping into the lead role. As Coiffi, Manford is engaging, authentic and funny. His excellent acting and singing will come as a surprise to people more familiar with his comedy act but he really steps into centre stage and fills it admirably.
Exciting and enthusiastic choreography, classical musical numbers and a script that is jam-packed with witty dialogue make Curtains a thoroughly enjoyable night out.
This classy, feel-good musical whodunit is at The Regent Theatre, Hanley until Saturday.
For tickets call into Congleton Tourist Information Centre in the town hall (no booking fee, call 01260 271095) or visit the box office on atgtickets.com or call 0844 871 7649.