Leven’s Neal Edlin has played some famous parts in the past - Uncle Max in ‘The Sound of Music’, Curtis in ‘Sister Act’ and ‘Aimable Castagnet in ‘The Baker’s Wife’ for example - but Max Bialystock is perhaps the most iconic, having been created and played by Nathan Lane in the film and on-stage. ‘The Producers’ is perhaps one of the most challenging musicals Hessle Theatre Company has ever staged, but that’s the beauty of the challenge!
Neal is totally immersing himself in ‘The Producers’ - reading the script, singing the songs, visualising the staging - but definitely not watching the Mel Brooks original film where Zero Mostel played Max Bialystock or the second version with Nathan Lane! For anyone who doesn’t know the play, it’s irreverent, satirical, gross, tasteless and very funny! If you don’t have a broad sense of humour and don’t like strong languauge, don’t go - but if you do, you will love it!
Hessle Theatre Company are amateur in name only. Their productions are professional in every sense of the word with many of the cast members having professional training; they just aren’t getting paid. Each member of the ensemble has an individual character - which makes rehearsals hard work - but the sound, the dancing, the costumes and the staging are second-to none.
We here at Just Beverley thought that ‘Springtime for Hitler’ might be Neal’s favourite song, but we were wrong! His favourite is ‘Along Came Bialy’ at the end of Act 1 when there is a troupe of little old ladies dancing with Zimmer frames. No, the Company haven’t gone out to tempt more senior ladies to get involved - half of the little old ladies are male cast members dressed up as little old ladies. We said it was irreverent!
‘The Producers’ plays every evening at Hull New Theatre from March 20th to 24th with a matinee on the 24th. Tickets are from £10 and can be booked by phone on 01482 300306 or online at www.hulltheatres.co.uk/events/ producers