A lot of the reviews for the West End version of The Producers opening last night have hailed it as a great return to musical comedy on stage after years of portentious semi-operatic shows. I think there is a place for tackling unusual subjects in any form, musical theatre as much as anything. But it is undeniable, singing and dancing does have a nice fit with gags.

I went to see a production of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd last week at the New Ambassadors. I’ve mentioned elsewhere that I do not particularly care for Sondheim, and that was from hearing bits and bobs of his stuff. Having seen a full show my opinion has not changed. He is very good at what he does (teasing out individual themes and overlapping music), but there was probably only one show-stopper in the piece. The rest was aural wallpaper for the characters to sing the plot over. They could have just talked.

What was good about the show was its staging. The ten piece ensemble were impressive as singers and musicians, this adaptness papering over the uneasy cracks in the tale which was never sure if it was a black comedy, and indictment of 19th Century London poverty or a horror. But you don’t walk out humming the tunes, or the buckets of blood.