Curtains The Musical opened at the Sunderland Empire tonight and I was there to take in all the action. A first for me and many others at the press night too and I couldn’t wait to see what this musical was all about. Plus, the excitement was in the air to see Jason Manford perform in a new role.
Curtains is a whodunit with a musical twist, which is rare to theatre-land and a far cry from the Agatha Christie whodunit, The Mouse Trap, that I’ve seen twice in London’s West End and LOVE.
In Curtains The Musical, detective Frank Cioffi, played by Jason Manford, is called in to solve the murder of Jessica Cranshaw, the star of the new Broadway-bound musical Robbin Hood, who has been murdered on stage on the opening night. The entire cast and crew become suspects and it is the job of Frank, who just happens to be a huge musical theatre buff, to find the killer while also giving the show a lifeline.
Ore Aduba who won Strictly Come Dancing and West End star Carley Stenson (Les Misérables) also star in this Tony award-winning musical, brought to the stage from the creators of Cabaret and Chicago.
Faultless acting throughout with and an easy to follow plot made the story of Curtains simple to follow for someone like me who was new to the musical. Jason Manford played a great part, in fact, I forget it was even him that I was watching on stage which, while I think thats a great compliment to him and his talents, I think that actually disappointed some members of the audience who were expecting a little more of the comedian on stage, judging by some chatter I overheard in the Indian across the road afterwards.
The set design and production couldn’t be faulted with the great lighting and sound. The cast put in a stellar effort but I must admit, I was expecting a little more from Curtains. I didn’t work out who the murder was until the very end which is great as theres nothing worse than watching something that’s predictable. However I did feel as though the play itself felt a little slow, especially during Act 1 and there wasn’t the anticipation and suspense I was expecting throughout, so the great reveal at the end felt a little underwhelming.
I’m pleased I’ve seen Curtains as its a musical I’ve often thought about getting tickets for but I haven’t left the theatre eager to go back straight away.
Curtains The Musical runs at The Sunderland Empire until Saturday 25th February. Tickets are available from the box office and online here.