Curtains Review (Darlington Hippodrome)

Curtains Review (Darlington Hippodrome)


“Whodunnit?” was the question on everyone’s lips as “Curtains”, a comedy musical murder-mystery from the creators of “Cabaret” and “Chicago”, drew a huge crowd to Darlington Hippodrome.

It’s the opening night of the new Broadway-bound musical “Robbin Hood” at Boston’s Colonial Theatre, although disaster strikes when the star of the show, Jessica Cranshaw, is murdered on stage… and the entire cast and crew are suspects.

Enter local detective Frank Cioffi (Jason Manford), who just so happens to be a huge musical theatre fan. With a nose for crime and an ear for music, Frank has his work cut out trying to find the killer, all the while throwing the show a lifeline.

The action in Curtains unfolds across a stage within a stage setting, with flawlessly-executed directorial techniques being used to effortlessly alternate the perspective from the stage front to the on-going drama behind the curtains.

Comedian turned West-End star Jason Manford (“The Producers”, “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”) is extremely likeable and quickly develops a good rapport with the audience throughout the two-and-a-half-hour running time.

Whereas Jason Manford may be the big name draw on the poster, it’s Samuel Holmes who garners the majority of the laughs as the self-absorbed director, Christopher Belling. His sharp quips combined with the over-the-top British stereotype are delightful to watch.

In fact, the entire production is crammed full of satire, with the witty one-liners and perfect comedic timing coming thick and fast. So much so, that the whole murder mystery element of the plot is almost lost entirely under the sheer amount of gags and musical numbers.

The soundtrack proves to be a mixed bag on the whole, with an assortment of lively, upbeat numbers (such as “In The Same Boat”, a brilliantly staged number sung in a round) and monotonous songs that need more life injecting into them. Nevertheless, the hard-working ensemble give the tracks their all with pitch-perfect vocals and energetic choreography to match.



“Curtains” is a comedy-musical that succeeds in keeping the audience entertained with quick-fire gags and a lively soundtrack, though lacks the mystery and suspense needed to make this a classic “whodunnit?” Sit back and enjoy the ride, as it’s an entertaining one.

“Curtains” is at Darlington Hippodrome from Tuesday, November 12th, 2019 until Saturday, November 16th, 2019.

Tickets can be purchased from the box office on 01325 405405 or through the website.