REVIEW: Bugsy Malone (Royal & Derngate)

A classic film from my childhood, I’d actually never seen the stage version, so was interested to see how it would work in the theatre. I’ll admit, I was a little sceptical about it, as that many children on stage with American accents can be absolute chaos.

However, I was pleasantly surprised by this youth production. My guest reviewer Tia (age 11) was spellbound by the performances and the way that director Ashley Elbourne has brought this show to life.

As ever, there are far more females than males, but this only serves to modernise the production. Dandy Dan is played by Libby Moore and she is a very talented lady, with great characterisation and timing.

Emily Abraham as Blousey Brown has a beautiful voice and was truly believable as a lost soul trying to find her way in the world. Poppy Etherington is excellent as Fizzy; her lovely voice was unfortunately lost at times due to a faulty microphone, but her performance in the role was charming.

The creative vision of Sarah June Mills was fantastic, making the most of the small stage and capturing the Prohibiton period nicely. Particularly good is the car chase, utilising the ensemble to great effect (even if the headlights are blinding)! The onstage band is also an excellent touch, and the cast all perform exceptionally well with the music.

Aside from several sound malfunctions, a few dubious American accents and actors talking over the audience’s laughter (something that comes from time), this is a very good production and the whole cast and crew should be very proud.

Reviewed by Michaela Clement-Hayes
Photo: Graeme Braidwood


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