Saturday, 20 August 2016

"Bugsy Malone"
by Nottingham Playhouse Youth Theatre.
When you have such an iconic film such as Alan Parker's "Bugsy Malone" it's always going to be difficult to get the same feel as the film. The stage musical is a different beast altogether.
The splurge guns, which caused the mayhem in the film, now fire confetti. Due to health and safety reasons I thought that we'd not be covering the kids and stage with custard pie mix, so instead they made a bright and colourful musical, brighter and more colourful, literally.
A multi levelled stage gave scope to the musical which made it easier to match the scene changes from the film, as well as having the black curtain to make sure that any changes to the scenes could be done away from the audience's eye and still carry the story on smoothly in front of the curtain.
It was a big cast which changed some of the cast members from Act 1 to Act 2. This gave the kids plenty of scope to play the roles but slightly befuddled this old brain of mine until I got my head around it.
I'm not going to lie, but having two young actors playing the same role in different acts did force comparison between the two and I found myself choosing which one I preferred, and although I enjoyed all the actors and the enthusiasm, I did find myself saying to myself, "that performer I preferred over the other".
Of course when your a parent of the child playing the part you'll pick your child over the other, it's only to be expected. As a completely independent audience member. I had the freedom of independent comparison. To tell the truth I actually enjoyed comparing the actors and seeing different strengths in them all; it gave my evening out an added bonus.
Please don't see this, dear reader, as a black or white thing because I saw things I loved in all the actors and it's rare for a reviewer to have an evening such as this.
There's some lovely comedy actors in this bunch and some very talented singers as well. My standout singer though just had to be Elsa Lily Novak who played Blousey in Act One. A lovely mature voice which at first I thought was being voiced off stage and she was miming, she was so very good. Not saying that Caitlin Kupsa who was Act two's Blousey also didn't have a lovely voice, but there you go, it's difficult to mention one actor without comparing to the actor playing the role in the other half.
Callum Barr, who played Knuckles in both acts brought a smile to my face with his characterization, and I thought that Thomas Thorne showed great confidence in his role as one of Fat Sam's gang, Shake Down Louis. In fact the whole gang made me chuckle with their blundering antics and comical song and dance routines. A massive well done to all of you.
I will say that I enjoyed the show, the staging, the wonderful piano work of musical director of David Hails, the wonderful costumes, the dance routines, choreographed by Amanda Hall, and all of this directed by Allie Spencer.I also loved the enthusiasm shown by the kids, and to say that they had but two weeks to get this all together and stage it, I think they succeeded in bringing not the easiest of musicals to stage in that time, to fruition.
Some rough diamonds here who, with a bit of polish and work, I believe will shine bright like a 24 carat diamond in the future.

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