It may be time to get out the theatre reviewer’s Big Book Of Superlatives. If such a thing existed then it may be stripped completely bare in trying to compose this review of the utterly magnificent Curve Community Production of Bugsy Malone.
Bugsy Malone at Leicester Curve is one heck of a gangster’s Mamma of a production. The big guns are out for this one and it is a top calibre show. Even before the show has started the audience are treated to a spectacular stage setting of New York complete with a moving subway train flashing by and the Bronx El juddering its way across the skyline. Sound effects take us to seedy spots down town and the air is split with the deadly rattle of a tommy gun. Throughout the whole show David Woodhead’s stage design and Louis Rhoades-Brown’s incredible video design augmented with spectacular lighting effects by designer Ben Cracknell and pin sharp sound from Tom Marshall amuse and take our breath away.
Bugsy Malone is directed and choreographed by Nick Winston and musically directed by George Dyer. Not only are the terrific young cast community actors but so are the nineteen strong orchestra on stage. The whole is a melting pot of superb Leicestershire emerging talent and their combined performances in Bugsy are musical and theatrical dynamite. Last year’s community Richard III was brilliant but this show is hits the standard right over the proverbial baseball park.
There is not one single bad performer in the thirty-six strong cast and all of ’em give the impression they are totally immersed in the show and having the time of their lives. Joel Fossard-Jones is über confident as Bugsy himself and shows Bugsy’s strengths and vulnerabilities well. Maeve Wood as Blousey looks like she has just walked out of a gangster novel and sings like an angel. Harvey Thorpe pretty much steals the show as a comically threatening Fat Sam Staccetto and Jennifer Brown oozes charm and showbiz sexiness as Tallulah. Brown is also terrifically assured vocally.
We loved Arlo Mulligan-Vassel as Fizzy the caretaker and would-be tap dancer. Mulligan-Vassel has a natural charm and abundant talent in communicating his character and we feel he is certainly a young man to watch out for in future productions. In a tiny role Luke Pillai is scarily amusing (that is a compliment) as the nutty Looney Bergonzi.
Bugsy at Curve often bursts into the audience throughout the show and the waves of energy from the young performers as they speed up and down the aisles bring bounteous smiles and laughter to the faces of the totally smitten audience and a small degree of dampness to those situated in the front row. The choreography in this show is exemplary to the point of very impressive professionalism. You really wouldn’t think that the cast are mainly amateur.
Bugsy Malone runs until Sunday 28th August and if you haven’t booked yet we urge you to do so and thoroughly enjoy witnessing one of the finest ‘Made At Curve’ productions to grace the Curve main house stage.
Reviewer: Phil Lowe