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Posts Tagged ‘Sir Alan Parker’

The origin of this show is fascinating. It was of course originally a film, made by a man who did adverts. Quite why he decided to make a gangster film with music, performed by children, is beyond me, but it worked and it’s maker, Alan Parker, went on to great things. He found time to write the book of a stage version who’s premiere in 1983, directed by The Monkees’ Micky Dolenz, was at Her Majesty’s Theatre (before Phantom moved in!). It wasn’t a huge hit then, but it is now, getting an unprecedented five-month run at the re-opened Lyric Hammersmith and based on the reviews and Tuesday’s full house & standing ovation, it’s a popular, critical and commercial success.

Bugsy is a fringe player in the gang war between Fat Sam and Dandy Dan. He falls for wannabe showgirl Blousey, but Fat Sam’s girl Tallulah has designs on him too. The money he can get from Fat Sam will help him get Blousey to Hollywood, if he can keep Tallulah at bay, Fat Sam ignorant of her affections and stay alive. Fat Sam runs a speakeasy, so there’s lots of opportunities for songs and routines, including auditions by Blousey and Fat Sam’s cleaner Fizzy. Paul Williams music is tuneful and accessible (and familiar – there was some singing along!). The gangsters use splurge guns and water of course, one of the show’s trademarks.

Unlike the film or the original stage production, director Sean Holmes uses young professionals in all roles but the seven leads, but he also has live singing rather than miming to offstage / off-screen adults as in the film and original production. Though I preferred the live music, it does lose something without a complete kids cast (though I understand the 2015 imperatives that drive this). The particular cast of youngsters we had (there are three for each role) were exceptional and the ensemble was terrific too. Drew McOnie’s choreography is fresh and exciting and Jon Bausor’s costumes a treat.

Though I wasn’t as euphoric as others, I still enjoyed it very much and it’s lovely to see such a show such a success for the Lyric, which does such wonderful work with young people on a regular basis.

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