In complete contrast to We Will Rock You, The Producers was dazzling. It was massively entertaining, hilarious, brimming with talented performances, and hilarious (again). I'm a fan of the film in that I think the first half is fantastic, but the second-half sags just a bit. Perhaps not surprisingly, the same is true of the musical. We missed seeing Lee Evans as Leo, as John Gordon Sinclair has taken over the role, but he was very good - once or twice I thought how Evans would have got a bigger laugh on some of the physical stuff. Fred Applegate was a great Max Bialystock, with a touch less of the manic that Zero Mostel conveyed in the film. The biggest laugh (and I mean gut-aching, tears in my eyes so I couldn't see) was James Dreyfus as Carmen Ghia... I want to use the term 'comedy genius' to describe his exit from Roger DeBris' boudoir. And he did it twice, the second one being funnier. It almost killed me.
The dancing and choreography was really fabulous, and the whole show just poured on the glitz, but with more than a bite of self-mockery about it. When you sit there and realise you're laughing heartily at an all-singing, all-dancing Hitler and his leggy brown-shirts, it just hurts even more. The girl who usually plays Ulla (Leigh Zimmerman) was 'indisposed' the night we saw The Producers, but her replacement, Lisa Donmall, was fantastic.
Little niggles come from, as I said, the slight loss of direction in the second half of the show (which, if I remember correctly, actually departs from the 1968 film quite a bit). It is never fully explained how Bialystock and Bloom can make their money from a Broadway flop, or go to jail if it is a success. But none of this matters! It is certainly one of the best West End shows I have ever seen.