Bugsy Malone

Aug 13 2019 | By More

★★★☆☆    Splurge-tastic

Young Critics Scheme review
Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre (Venue 76): Fri 2 – Sun 11 Aug 2019
Review by Suzanne O’Brien

Captivate Theatre’s production of Bugsy Malone takes you right back to the roaring twenties at Gilded Balloon’s Rose Theatre, with two different casts for alternating performances.

Switching machine guns for silly string and whipped cream, director Sally Lyall’s production is full of razzmatazz and stays very close to the 1976 film on which it is based.

Bugsy Malone. Pic Leask Photography

With a cast made entirely of children the story follows the rivalry between two gangs led by speakeasy owner Fat Sam (performed by Luke Davidson and Tom Barclay) and Dandy Dan (performed by Adam Robb and Rosie Wilkinson). Sam fears that Dandy Dan is going to take over his speakeasy. With the arrival of splurge guns Sam orders his gang to steal the guns from Dan’s gang leading to all sorts of trouble.

If you are not familiar with the movie it may be difficult to follow the many different characters, locations and the storyline, as much of it isn’t explored or shown in great detail – this is perhaps due to the large cast, small space and minimal set.

Lewis Swire gives a stand-out performance in the role of boxing scout Bugsy Malone (played by Ollie Hiemann on alternating nights). Swire has a swagger and ease about him during his performance which makes for a loveable lead character – it comes as no surprise that he is loved by many of the other characters.

mysterious demeanour

He is a friendly young man that takes pride in giving help when needed – even becoming Fat Sam’s driver and helping him escape a meeting that turns out to be a trap.

Throughout the production Sam auditions different acts with the view to performing in his speakeasy. One hopeful is the very talented Blousey, performed by Alice Taylor (and Lily Constanti). Taylor has an angelic voice and creates a somewhat mysterious demeanour which is very endearing. Blousey becomes the love interest of Bugsy but she doesn’t fall for him easily and takes a lot of winning over.

A scene from Bugsy Malone. Pic Leask Photography

Olivia Eccles (and Frankie Blair) successfully portrays a glamorous and flirtatious Tallulah – the role played by Jodie Foster in the original movie – with shed loads of confidence and sass. Tallulah is the girlfriend of Sam but this doesn’t stop her flirting with Bugsy, much to Blousey’s disappointment. Eccles’ commanding stage presence and gorgeous voice fits the role perfectly.

Singers Kathryn Brown, Rosie Wilkinson, Frankie Blair and Matty Moore give great performances and shine with amazing vocals and sparkly 20s style outfits.

The attention to detail with regard to the costume, hair and make up is highly commendable. Each outfit fits the 20s era and the finger wave bobbed hair styles are a great addition.

Director Sally Lyall, makes good use of the performance space, however the actors often have to walk through the audience which becomes very distracting and noisy.

With talented young performers and lots of comical elements, Captivates production of this musical is smooth and very entertaining.

Running time one hour and 30 mins
Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre, 204 Rose Street, EH2 4AZ (Venue 76)
Friday 2 – Sunday 11 August 2019
Daily: 5.30pm
Tickets and details: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/bugsy-malone

Company website: http://www.captivatetheatre.com
Facebook: @captivatetheatre
Twitter: @Captivate_LTD

Captivate’s Bugsy Malone. Pic Leask Photography


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