Bronco Billy the Musical at the Charing Cross Theatre REVIEW | A Delightful Musical Romp

Thursday 1 February 2024

Bronco Billy the Musical
Charing Cross Theatre

Bronco Billy the musical, is a rollicking ride through the Wild West, that brings a unique blend of sincerity and high camp to the Charing Cross Theatre. It's a show so full of heart, you can't help but be charmed by it, as it provides a theatrical escape that is genuinely marvellous.

As the title suggests, the musical tells the tale of Bronco Billy, a performing Cowboy as he leads his troupe around America, aiming to make enough money to keep them afloat. Along the way he meets Antoinette, an heiress who's on the run from her money grabbing stepmother and a host of other characters wishing for her demise. It's as random and wacky as it sounds but truly it's a tale of heart, friendship and dreaming, all wrapped up to create a rootin' tootin' good show that thrives through it's melodramatic highs.

The cast are full of absolute joys. Star on rise, Emily Benjamin shines as the chocolate heiress on the run, Antoinette, injecting the role with gumption, charm and vulnerability, plus sweltering vocals to match. Her delightful partnership with Tarrin Callender as Bronco Billy, provides some of the show's standout moments. Callendar's effortless charisma and soaring baritone vocals fill the Charing Cross Theatre, making it evident why the troupe is so drawn to him, and showcasing a performance that is beautifully vulnerable and volatile.

The leading duo are complemented by a supporting cast of well-defined characters, each with small arcs and interests that really bring them to life. Between them, the group also showcase a variety of killer circus tricks, from juggling, to supremely impressive rope-wielding and magical wild-west wizardry. A big part of the show is the aspect of found family and the entire cast do a really fantastic job of portraying this loving unit, and together bring some sweet, sincere moments to an otherwise wild show.

Heaps of praise must go to Victoria Hamilton-Barritt portraying the gold digger, murderess stepmother, Constance, as she delivers a performance that is nothing short of perfection. Her comedic timing rivals the best in the business, and her astounding physicality, faultless facial expressions, and hilarious vocal inflections create a dynasty-esque portrayal that keeps the audience in stitches. Barritt's magnetic stage presence draws in the crowd, and she expertly milks every moment for maximum laughs and somehow still leaves us yeehawing for more.

Amy Jane Cook's set design and Sarah Mercade's costumes are commendable, wonderfully capturing the essence of the Wild West with authenticity and providing some surprising moments whilst utilising all of the limited space available. Alexzandra Sarmiento's choreography is undeniably fun and while there's potential for more in a larger space, it fits the Wild West vibe exceptionally well and is two-step away from perfection, though I'd trade my hat for an encore tap dance number.

The upbeat score by Chip Rosenbloom, John Torres and Michelle Brourman is continually engaging, with a number of quirky ear-worms and vocal gems. It may not be a musical masterpiece, but it's intelligent and inventive enough to fit perfectly with the style of the show and deliver exactly what it needs to.

Bronco Billy is a delightful musical extravaganza that successfully balances sincere moments with high camp theatrics. It isn't groundbreaking, but with charismatic leads, touching found family dynamics, and a hugely fun Wild West atmosphere, it is a silly stampede of a show that guarantees you'll leave with a prairie sized grin and joy to share. Who knew that what London theatre needed was a disco cowboy musical?!


Reviewed on Wednesday 30th January 2024 by Olivia
Photo Credit: The Other Richard

{AD PR Invite- tickets gifted in exchange for honest review}