Curtains is a musical mystery comedy with a book by Rupert Holmes, lyrics by Fred Ebb, and music by John Kander, with additional lyrics by Kander and Holmes. Based on the original book and concept of the same name by Peter Stone, the musical is a send-up of backstage murder mystery plots, set in 1959 Boston, Massachusetts and follows the fallout when Jessica Cranshaw, the supremely untalented star of Robbin' Hood of the Old West is murdered during her opening night curtain call. It is up to Lt. Frank Cioffi, a police detective who moonlights as a musical theater fan to save the show, solve the case, and maybe even find love before the show reopens, without getting killed himself. Cioffi also dreams of being in musical theater.
First thing I saw when researching this production before attending the show was the celebrity casting as the show features Jason Manford, Carley Stenson and Ore Oduba. At first I was kind of excited to see how well they'll do however I was disappointed very quickly as there was a lack in vocal, acting and dancing skills and technique of all three. Their performances were just not strong enough and unrememberable.
For me, it was the two Musical Theatre veterans; Samuel Holmes and Rebecca Lock who took the spotlight and stole the whole show. Lock has an incredible vocal technique, superb acting performance and I loved every scene she was in. Holmes was just fantastic! Having previously seeing him in Shrek I was excited to see him in this show and he did not disappoint me. As usual, he was the funniest character in the show with all the punch lines and best jokes. Holmes has an extremely perfect comedic timing and is simply a Legend!
The cast and the ensemble work really hard to keep the audience engaged however the music and the book are spoiling this as they aren't great. The book is predictable and just doesn't get to the point quick enough, instead it just drags on and on, and the score is lifeless and makes the show drag even more. No "Big Numbers" or catchy tunes in this show. The costumes, lights and the set made this even worse as they were dull and didn't create a wow factor at all... but hey, the curtain was pretty.