Book by Larry Gelbart
Music by Cy Coleman
Lyrics by David Zippel
NODA Review by Frank Wooles
The glitz and glamour of Hollywood of the 40s, and author Stine is attempting to adapt his novel featuring a Chandleresque private detective, Stone, into a screenplay to satisfy demanding movie producer, Buddy Fidler. It seems simple enough but gets a lot more complicated as we move between the scenes that Stine writes and the onstage enactment by the characters he has created. Definition is helped by the real life characters dressed in muted tones and the fictional in bright Marvel comic colours and the clever imaginative production by Janet Holloway and the use of playing areas and dedicated lighting. Slick and fast moving with two fine performances by Colin Davey as the frustrated writer, Stine, and Laurence Clarke, as his alter ego, the detective, Stone, with a wealth of rapidly delivered crisp one-liners of the period. Rhiannon Rose, delightfully blonde and cookie as Stone's secretary, Oolie, and Ellie Hoare as the alluring femme fatale Alura, caught the style and period of the genre and Mike Gaccon colourfully played the demanding ebullient movie director, Buddy Fidler. Fay Crispin played well as the missing "bad" girl Mallory, and Lorna Welch brought a sense of normality and a lovely voice to the role of Gabby, the estranged wife of Stine. Supporting roles were boldly played in comic book style by a formidable cast "doubling up" to cover the many roles and form the company in performing good sounding and highly choreographed production numbers to a high standard. The difficult and complex score was well covered by a small, great sounding jazzy band under the baton of musical director Jo Herco and a mention for the stage crew for their efficient and speedy handling of some 40 scene changes and the effective lighting plot. The wardrobe, ranging from richly glamorous to extreme garish and so essential to the plot, was created by the Players.
Originally published Autumn 2009