ADAPTED from Mel Brooks' 1968 comic movie, director/choreographer Dawn Broomfield and producer Emma Giles made full use of the top quality actors, singers and dancers at their disposal.
The cast-selection was spot-on and the packed first-night audience were treated to an excellent show.
Paul Rogers was sensational as Max Bialystock, enlisting neurotic accountant Leo Bloom (the equally impressive Sam Gregory) to produce a flop musical and run off with the backers' money.
The plan backfires and the show, 'Springtime for Hitler', is a hit.
Glamour in the shape of multi-talented Caryn Morant (Ulla) and high-camp humour from Bryan Newman (Roger DeBris) are stand-out performances, with great support from Mark Barton-Leigh (neo-Nazi Franz Leibkind).
Scene changes, sound and, particularly, lighting were patchy but didn't detract from the overall, hilarious, performance, with Rogers ad-libbing impressively following a door 'malfunction'.
John Sparrow led fine accompaniment and Meryl Collins' costumes were very impressive.
10th April 2012, Daily Echo
IF ever there was a totally barking mad show this is it, and SMS has taken every ounce of its zany humour and played it to the limit, with the end result being a hugely enjoyable evening that on opening night had the audience cheering to the rafters.
For those who may not know the story, the plot centres around failed producer Max Bialystock and his accountant and would-be producer Leo Bloom, who on looking at the books realises that a flop would have the potential to generate more money that a hit. They set about finding the worst show ever written, the worst director, a second-rate cast - and wait for the bad reviews. Suffice to say that things do not quite go according to plan and... no, I won't tell you. Go along and find out for yourself. But don't look too closely at the newspaper Max is reading in the opening scene, or you, like me, will spend some time wondering just why the New Milton Advertiser is reviewing shows on Broadway!!!
It is vital that the main roles are well cast, and Paul Rogers (Max Bialystock) even looked like Nathan Lane, the originator of the role on Broadway. Clearly at home on the stage, Paul is an absolute natural and I loved every second of his truly outstanding performance. He also has that rare presence of mind that turns a potential problem into a laugh-out-loud moment, demonstrated on opening night when the 'rest room' door refused to budge and he immediately ushered Leo into another room and commented "I must get that door fixed". Pure genius. He was well matched by the delightful Sam Gregory as a most endearing Leo Bloom, and with the addition of the excellent Caryn Morant (Ulla) this was a trio that would be hard to beat.
Bryan Newman excels as Roger DeBris, the hopeless director, and his first-act costume, which he remarks makes him look like the Crysler Building, is just gorgeous. I should add at this point that the majority of the superb costumes were made by just one lady and her family, so please accept a well-deserved gold star, Meryl Collins.
There are also lovely characterisations from Mark Barton-Leigh as mad German Franz Leibkind and Ryan Saunders as Roger's side-kick Carmen Gia, plus many good supporting roles. In particular I must mention Stu Collins' superb voice as the Singing Stormtrooper in Springtime For Hitler.
Chorus work is slick, choreography first class, singing is excellent and there's a top-rate orchestra, thanks to the combined talents of the cast, their director/choreographer Dawn Broomfield and musical director John Sparrow.
This is a show that was certainly worth my 80 mile round trip. Max and Leo sing We Can Do It, and that’s just what SMS have done.
4th April 2012, Scene One
The show's programme designer Stu Collins won the Roy Portsmouth Trophy for Standard Programmes in the NODA Awards
Southampton Musical Society Registered Charity No 299426