Review: Curtains at Liverpool Empire

By Barry Hayden.

You may think that murder is not the most obvious basis for a comedy musical but Curtains will certainly change your mind. This is a big production full of great songs, jokes, amazing choreography and a genuinely intriguing whodunnit.

The show revolves around the opening night of a new stage musical in Boston which almost closes after its first performance due to the star of the show unfortunately meeting her demise while taking her curtain call.

Jason Manford, probably one of the busiest entertainers in the country at the moment, plays the role of Lieutenant Frank Cioffi investigating the murder.  Frank is also a huge fan of musical theatre and is hugely excited to be backstage and can’t help himself making suggestions on how to improve the show instead of concentrating on the case in hand. And he certainly has a big job on his hands as there is no shortage of suspects.

Rebecca Lock plays Carmen Bernstein the show within a show’s hard bitten producer who can’t understand why murder should stop the show.

Strictly Come Dancing winner Ore Oduba plays Aaron Fox the musicals composer whose writing partner Georgia Hendricks, played by former Hollyoaks star Carley Stenson, is the love of his life but leaves him to take over the starring role in Robbin Hoods, the musical within a musical.

Big shout out to Samuel Holmes who plays the show’s director Christopher Belling and has some of the best lines in the show with great comic delivery. Nobody is safe from his withering critiques, but is he a murderer?

Or could it be Bambi, the ambitious chorus line dancer and also daughter of the producer? Played by Emma Caffrey who delivers some great lines and is probably the most supple dancer I have ever witnessed.

Leah Barbara West plays Niki Harris, Lieutenant Cioffi’s love interest. But can she be the killer? Her fingerprints are certainly on a lot of evidence!

This show comes from the musical writing partnership Kander & Ebb, creators of Cabaret and Chicago, and it’s definitely one of the best I’ve seen in a long time.

It’s the perfect remedy to chase away the winter blues and is on at the Liverpool Empire until this Saturday, 1st February.

Performance Information
Curtains
Liverpool Empire Theatre
Tuesday 28th January – Saturday 1st Feb

Top: Jason Manford as ‘Frank Cioffi’.
Photo Credit: Seamus Ryan

Bottom: Carly Stenson

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