MusicalNorth East & YorkshireReview

Bugsy Malone – Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield

Reviewer: Sara Jackson

Book: Alan Parker

Music and Lyrics: Paul Williams

Director: Sean Holmes

The candy-coated city slicker is back in this high energy, quirky production of the classic musical produced and loved by schools and youth theatres all over.

Written by Alan Parker and Paul Williams as a film for their children to enjoy, Bugsy Malone, a classic tale of gangsters, certainly kept young audience members entertained from start to finish.

This time the performance opens with narration from Jasmine Sakyiama as Tallulah who gives an assured and sultry performance, this young performer is certainly going to be one to watch. The plot follows the escapades of the titular character Bugsy Malone (played by Gabriel Payne) as he tries to win the hand of wannabe singer Blousy Brown, played by Mia Lakha who gives a heart-breaking rendition of Ordinary Fool, and finds himself at the centre of a mob war between Albie Snelson’s Fat Sam and Desmond Cole’s Dandy Dan.

For a young cast the company carries the show with energetic tenacity, making up for experience with sheer energy and playful commitment. A particular favourite moment for the young audiences is the car chase scene, accompanied by strobe lighting effects that saw the audience almost on its feet with delight. Even a brief pause in the performance for a technical difficulty did not detract from the evening, with the audience welcoming the performers back to the stage with rapturous applause.

Jon Bausor’s set design is simple but well used, easily becoming a speakeasy, a boxing ring, and a dock with the simple additions of tables or ropes. Philip Gladwell’s lighting design however lacked the same energy as the performance and could have been used more effectively to add glamour in places and bring out the best in the simple set design.

At times it felt as through key moments were being lost at the back of the large stage, for example Leroy’s fight with the muggers. The fight is performed by Kalifa Burton who gives a standout performance as the loveable dim wit and was very cleverly choreographed by Kate Waters, but it was lost at the back of the stage.

There is nothing radical about Sean Holmes’ direction, but then sometimes nothing radical is needed. The show romps along and the audience eats up every word, clapping and singing along. For older audience members this is a welcome stroll down memory lane and it’s wonderful to see a new generation being introduced to the loveable gangsters and rogues.

This is a lovely night out at the theatre and worth taking your children along to see it too.

Runs until Saturday 1st October 2022.

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Fun, frolics & splat guns!

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The Yorkshire & North East team is under the editorship of Jacob Bush. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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