Book by Larry Gelbart

Music by Cy Coleman

Lyrics by David Zippel

It is a wonderful feeling when you get round to doing something you always wanted to do, and that is exactly how many of our members felt when it was suggested that we do this show. This show was a hit on Broadway and in the West End but it is not a well known show so that was always going to be our first challenge! This show blends the real life of late 1940's Hollywood with the imagination of the author, Stine. In the original production the fictional elements were done in black and white to denote the film element of the narrative; our director, Janet, took a different approach. Inspired by comic book action heroes and the "pop art" of Roy Liechtenstein, the fictional elements in our production became extremely colourful, comic book versions; this not only made the production a visual treat but also made the complex narrative a little easier to understand by the audience as the "real life" scenes were so very different from the "comic book" scenes.

Janet started first with the set, sitting down with our set designer, Liz, who immediately got the concept and with her artistic flare made a flexible set which could be used at both our venues. Tricks such as an appearing/disappearing bed and back projection ensured that there was never a dull moment for the audience. The "pop art" look was aided by the set painting talents of Fay who did some comic strip canvases which were stunning. Janet also had ideas about costume which were taken forward by Paul and he devised a beautiful set of costumes which clearly delineated the "comic book" from "real life". Costume highlights include surreal nurses uniforms, an extra long white fur stole, dresses with an art deco radio motif and a coroners jacket splattered with felt blood!

Strong performances complemented this demanding show; the main protagonist Stine was played excellently by Colin who alongside a strong female cast of Ellie, Rhiannon and his long suffering wife Lorna, all of which played their comic book alter egos with the right amount of over-the-top-ness! The fictional gumshoe was played by Lawrence who made light work of this demanding part. This production also saw the welcome return of Mike as the demanding Buddy Fidler and the Concept newbies, Fay and James, as the wayward Kingsley children. Add in a suitable over the top villain, Richard seemed to like his Lieutenant Muoz a little too much, and the smooth Lothario crooner, Jimmy Powers aka Tim Brown. The usual Angel City Four numbers were expanded to allow for more chorus participation but the close harmony singing of certain pieces such as the Prologue, Look Out and the Stay With Me set of tunes, showed off the talents of Paul, Ellie, Lorna, Hayley, Olivia and Bev.

The show was a great challenge - conceptually, logistically and artistically but judging from the feedback, a huge success with our audience who were delighted to see something which was so funny, interesting and unexpected. A harmonious production with lots of people pitching in with scenery, costumes and production. So well done Janet and to everyone who played a part in the production, it was undoubtedly a creative success!


Mrs Kingsley's first visit


This show perfectly captured the film noir elements where murder is a heady mix when combined with money and sex!



"[a] clever imaginative production by Janet Holloway"