From: Wednesday, 25th July 2012
To: Saturday, 1 September 2012
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Curtains is a spoof murder mystery set in Boston, Massachusetts, during the late 1950s. The helter-skelter plot follows the story of an ill-fated theatre company whose inordinately untalented leading lady is murdered during the curtain call at the opening night of the production of a new musical Robbin’ Hood of the Old West. A police detective, who happens to be a musical theatre fanatic, arrives to take charge - can Lieutenant Cioffi solve the case, save the show, win the girl and also escape with his life. Curtains was the last musical written by Kander and Ebb. Their skilful and tuneful score includes the beautiful and moving "I Miss the Music", sung by a lonely composer when his writing partner has left him, which is made even more poignant by the fact that Fred Ebb died during the final stages of production, leaving John Kander to complete the project alone.
Michael Coveney - 31 July 2012
Although it ran for over a year on Broadway and won a Tony award for David Hyde Pierce as stage-struck detective Frank Cioffi, Curtains (2006) falls into the quite large category of wildly imperfect musicals by John Kander and Fred Ebb you don't mind seeing once.
Others - Flora the Red Menace, The Rink, even Steel Pier -- have much better songs, but Robert McWhir's spirited revival at the Landor is a good example of a fringe production getting away with murder in cramped circumstances. And it's a pleasure to hear unadulterated, undistorted voices and an adept small band giving it their best shot.
The librettist, Peter Stone, died on the job, followed by lyricist Fred Ebb, and finally the show. No wonder there's a calumnious song about mean-minded critics; you always have to blame someone, though composer Kander turned misfortune to advantage in the deeply touching ...
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