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Wednesday, 31 August 2022

REVIEW: Bugsy Malone at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton

The 1976 Alan Parker Film Bugsy Malone caught the attention and passed into movie folklore with its very young cast and splurge guns in creating a spoof musical based around the gangster wars of the American prohibition era and starred the wonderful Jodie Foster as the speakeasy singer Tallulah and Bonnie Langford as Lena. There was a charm and humour in the combination of the young performers and light touch delivery of such a grim and violent period of American history. It is a somewhat bold move from producers, Kenny Wax and Theatre Royal Bath, to revive the Lyric Hammersmith 2015 production with a cast of young leads (aged from 9 to 15) with a team of chaperones, and an ensemble of young adults, many making their musical debuts for an extensive UK tour of the larger regional theatres which began in Bath Theatre Royal in August. 

When we caught up with the tour at the huge Mayflower Theatre in Southampton in a one-third full stalls auditorium, there was no denying the production values invested in the touring show. The false back wall portrayed the entrance to the basement Speakeasy with a beautifully coloured bar truck and flown tables taking us inside the venue with elegant ease. The car chase was also wonderfully brought to the stage with a pedal car and strobe effect lights. Indeed, there was an appropriate air of theatricality by Director Sean Holmes setting many of the show's numbers as staged performances and with the occasional breaking of the fourth wall. When a character is shot with the splurge guns a photographer appears to capture the death and in the flash of light, the character rises and walks off. It captures the charm of the original for the stage. The practicalities of staging mean however the splurge guns are reduced to splatter guns and then finally shoot out which was a glorious slapstick scene in the film is somewhat muted. The show is very well lit by Philip Gladwell with neon signs and good use of spotlights and strobes to highlight the action.

Monday, 13 October 2014

BUGSY MALONE to re-open the Lyric Hammersmith from April 2015 following redevelopment

In April 2015, Sir Alan Parker’s world famous stage musical Bugsy Malone, based on his acclaimed film, will re-open the Lyric Hammersmith following a multi-million pound redevelopment. The Lyric’s Artistic Director Sean Holmes will bring to life the UK’s first professional stage production of Bugsy Malone in over a decade.

The multi-million pound project to expand the current Lyric Hammersmith building, creating new facilities and improving the building’s environmental sustainability, is one of the largest cultural developments in West London. The building work represents the first major face-lift of the Lyric in 35 years. 
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