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Stage Dragon Review: Bugsy Malone At The Yvonne Arnaud

Published on: 29 Jun, 2018
Updated on: 29 Jun, 2018

The Yvonne Arnaud Youth Theatre is the largest such group in Surrey’s, running classes for different age groups.

This week they are performing the timeless classic, Bugsy Malone on the main stage.

It is a great experience for all the young people involved and it certainly showed on Thursday evening.

The book is by Alan Parker, with music by Paul Williams, the original production premièred in London’s West End in 1983 and ran for 300 performances, starring Catherine Zeta-Jones in the role of Tallulah.

This production is directed by Ally Manson (a former member of the Youth Theatre himself), Ellie Johnson and Julia Black.

We are in 1929 New York, where two gangs rule the streets; Dandy Dan’s Gang terrorise the locals with their splurge guns and Fat Sam and his people run a successful Grand Slam Speakeasy where he runs his operation from.

However, he only uses old fashioned custard pies as his weapons so he enlists the help of Bugsy to sort Dandy’s gang out and the whole story accumulates in a familiar number (You Give A Little Love) where chaos ensues in Fat Sam’s bar but all turns out well at the end.

According to the directors’ notes: “The cast’s commitment and dedication from day one has made the process an absolute joy”

This is very clear to see on stage from everyone.

Despite some sound / mic issues, the whole cast gives 100% and they work extremely well together as an ensemble.

However, there are some who deserve a special mention.

Robyn Mirmak (Fat Sam) and Zach Rogers (Knuckles) have a great chemistry and therefore their scenes and characterisations are a joy to watch, as well as being very funny.

Judy Kingaby and Anya Newall as narrator-singers show a great maturity in their performances, and Cole Flaherty as Fizzy just blows everyone away with his rendition of Tomorrow.

A definite musical highlight of the whole evening. Joshua Fernandes also demonstrates plenty of pizazz and gangster charm as the title character which he maintains throughout the show.

All of these young actors have a very bright future ahead should they decide to pursue this career or just enjoy it as a hobby.

Declan Randall’s clever and authentic design works very well on the Arnaud stage and enhances the whole production perfectly.

David Perkins is a regular musical director for the Youth Theatre and does an excellent job with the orchestration as always, as well as getting great results from the cast as individuals and with the chorus numbers.

And last but by no means least I would simply have to agree with the directors in their notes when they say that “Molly Fraser’s and Jess Hodson-Walker’s gorgeous, vibrant and slick costumes perfectly capture the essence and personality of the characters”.

I could not have put that better myself; this certainly enhanced a beautifully directed production and deserved the rapturous applause from Thursday evening’s audience.

 Bugsy Malone runs until Saturday, June 30 and tickets are available via the website: www.yvonne-arnaud.co.uk or by calling the box office on 01483 440000.

 

 

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