Curtains! has everything you could look for in a murder mystery musical. The play follows the cast of 'Robbin Hood' as the troupe is being investigated by theatre loving Boston police officer - Lieutenant Frank Cioffi (Lorcan Dyer) - after the sudden murder of their leading lady. Dyer gives a charismatic performance of everything you could hope a Boston police officer to be: astute, unexpectedly warm-hearted, and with a penchant for a good show tune.
As a whole, this performance features some great character acting - necessary, no doubt, because of the vibrant characters. One of which is Carmen Bernstein (Saph Faye), the money-minded co-producer of 'Robbin Hood'. Faye is sensationally shrewd as Bernstein, delivering some of the funniest - and raunchiest - lines of the show. A rival in hilarity might be the haughty director Christina Belling (Melissa Tavendale) whose comedic timing was killer (no pun intended).
Though the plot is nothing to write home about, it is an entertaining romp. The play didn't bore but in the second half, it did come a little loose at the wheels as lack of rehearsal began to show. Fumbled lines and inconsistent accents occasionally made for a wooden acting performance, but the action was quickly moved along by lively musical performance.
Many of the best musical numbers are powered by the show’s leading ladies, who gave some skilful performances. One of the catchiest numbers of the show 'Thataway' is delivered with skilful pinache by the talented Lindsay MacLaren as Georgia Hendricks. MacLaren also plays beside Matt Bain, as Aaron Fox, in one of the unexpected touching subplots of the play. The two give a wonderfully sincere performance that exemplifies what makes this musical enjoyable. It is a performance that may not require much critical thought but does tugs at the heart strings in all the right ways. Much like the fictional cast of ‘Robbin Hood’, the entire Curtains! Cast is dedicated to giving the audience a great show.
Ross Herbert's direction has the stage feeling constantly alive, if at times a little chaotic, and the truly spectacular moments in this show are when the full force of the chorus can be felt. The choreography (by Georgia Nolan) also does a great deal to bring life to the story, making it feel fun- even during a murder. The whole ensemble is a joy to watch, but particularly the dance numbers by Ryan Harper (as Bobby Pepper), Emma McFarlane (as Bambi Bernet), and Juliet Nilsen (as Nicki Harris). Overall, this felt every bit as fun as anyone could ask of a musical. I left with songs stuck in my head and the satisfaction of seeing a mystery solved! Of course, if you'd like to know ‘who done it’, you'll have to wait until curtains.