The task of running a theatre Summer School (Youth Theatre) where a show has to be rehearsed in two weeks with a cast of sixty plus young people of very mixed abilities, staged and then presented twice on the same day to capacity audiences must be enormous for all involved. So, Fedora hats off to Allie Spencer, Amanda Hall, David Halls, Alice Smith and all the invaluable support teams at Nottingham Playhouse for pulling off an entertaining production of Alan Parker and Paul Williams musical Bugsy Malone. From the appreciative applause and roars of approval of the Saturday evening performance the parents and their other family members clearly loved seeing their kids perform on stage.
Given the broad range of experience these youngsters on stage must have, some very little and some of the older ones potentially more, there is a lot of confidence being shown and even a degree of innate ability to pick up after a few mistakes. The important thing is that these young people are growing in confidence and given the tightness of the staging they have learnt key skills about working as a team as well as the requisite performance skills.
This Bugsy is a very colourful show and thoughtfully costumed in period. Alice Smith’s solid design takes us from Fat Sam’s club to the New York docks with ease using gauze and blackout to allow the scene changes to happen. David Hall’s live piano accompaniment adds considerably to the atmosphere. Some of the comedy in the piece had this reviewer smiling all the way home. Parker and Williams’ Bugsy Malone music and songs, as performed by this company, were performed with unique distinction and gusto.
From such a large cast it would seem unfair to pinpoint individual performances. So we at East Midlands Theatre would like, once again, to express our thanks to Nottingham Playhouse, all the organisers at the Playhouse Summer School and to the support and technical teams for their sterling commitment. Equal gratitude goes to all the young people who were brave and talented enough to take part in an unforgettable production of the gangster musical Bugsy Malone. You gave a lot of love and it came back to you.
Reviewer: Phil Lowe