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See the German Ethel Merman in Mel Brooks' irreverent musical

Maidenhead Musical Comedy Society: The Producers is at the Desborough Theatre from Wednesday, April 26 - Saturday, April 29

James Harrison

James Harrison

See the German Ethel Merman in Mel Brooks' irreverent musical

It’s arguably one of the most unlikely successes in the history of musical entertainment.

It’s a show about dodgy deals, crooked accountants and Nazis.

But against the odds Mel Brooks’s The Producers has become one of the greatest cult films of the 21st century.

It begins with a slightly convoluted premise – what if Broadway’s worst show could also be its most successful?

Seeking a financial win, two down-on-their-luck producers decide to produce the biggest flop New York has ever seen in the hope that by doing so they will avoid investigation for their questionable book-keeping.

To do so they enlist the most motley of motley crews, including a deranged ex-Nazi and perpetually high hippie to create Springtime for Hitler: A Gay Romp With Eva and Adolf at Berchtesgaden.

And yet against all their self-imposed hurdles, it’s a hit.

“I think it’s potentially one of the most complete comedic musicals ever written,” said Matthew Filmore, who plays Max, one of the titular producers in this production by Maidenhead Musical Comedy Society.

“Mel Brooks is brilliant, the comedy throughout is just brilliantly written and the score is a classic – it’s toe-tappingly good.

“It’s got all the elements of humour that you want from a night out at the theatre, and it really lives up to the British sense of humour too.”

Despite the laughs however, and there are plenty, it hasn’t always been the best received of shows.

The Nazi themes are an obvious hindrance to it and it has often been condemned for the irreverence with which it treats its subject matter.

But that does little to dissuade its fans, many of whom have thought it one of the best antidotes to the horrors produced by the Second World War.

“It’s satirical,” said Filmore.

“The original film came out at a time when it [the war] was still quite fresh in people’s memories.

“But it’s the kind of thing Mel Brooks was quite used to doing.

“And while it’s challenging to get right, everyone likes to laugh at things that are a bit naughty.

“But that can also be where you find some of the funniest comedy you can do.”

And, with popular shows such as SS-GB and the Man in the High Castle showing there’s still an appetite for entertainment inspired by the era, he’s sure that it’s a naughtiness that audiences will take to once again.

He said: “Whenever we’re doing a musical we’re looking for the funniest show out there and this show is a smash.

“It is so well received and these types of shows don’t come around very often and there aren’t many available for amateur societies.

“But anyone who comes is going to have a really good night of entertainment.”

Visit to find out more and book tickets.


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