Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Frank Wildhorn. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Frank Wildhorn. Sort by date Show all posts

Thursday 19 May 2022

Bonnie and Clyde, Arts Theatre | Review

Bonnie and Clyde
Arts Theatre 
Reviewed on Wednesday 18th May 2022 by Olivia Mitchell 

After over a decade of waiting, Frank Wildhorn, Don Black and Ivan Menchell's Bonnie and Clyde has finally entered the West End and has done so with a bang. Telling the story of the eponymous duo who became outlaws before being killed together, the romanticised musical is exciting and features some of the strongest performances seen in a long time.

Based on the semi-true story, we follow Bonnie and Clyde from their childhood dreams (her to be a movie star like Clara Bow, and he to be an outlaw like Billy the Kid) to their first flukey meeting, their following life of crime and eventually their downfall and death. Running in parallel to this story is an unrequited love plot as well as some glimpses into the economic depression of the time which highlight why turning to crime was in some ways, necessary, at least for the Barrow Brothers.

At times the book is a little jumbled and some things are over explained, whilst others lack a little development. However, it is equally brilliant in its comedy, especially in the snarky exchanges between Blanche and Bonnie. Aside from the few issues, this is a really wonderful production that is spirited and exudes intensity.

As the leading characters, Frances Mayli McCann and Jordan Luke Gage completely own the stage. McCann is a certified star and she brings her clear as glass vocals to life in ballads such as Dyin' Ain't So Bad- a brilliantly dynamic portrayal as Bonnie. Gage is charming and terrifying in equal measure and vocally he fires on all cylinders. Raise A Little Hell is a complete roof raiser that is powerful, thrilling and aggressive. Together the pair balance one another well and are realistic in their juvenile, all encompassing love story. The sizzling chemistry grows from their first meeting and remains so until the very last second.

The entirety of the small cast are equally strong, with Natalie McQueen giving the most hilarious performance as God-fearing Blanche Barrow. You're Goin' Back To Jail is absolutely hilarious and she imbues every moment with wit, even down to her out of time clapping which is brief but wonderful. Alongside her comedy masterclass, she also brings a more mellow moment in the duet You Love Who You Love which is outstanding. As with much of the show, it's the tight harmonies which really bring the house down and have the audience enraptured. George Maguire is also strong as Buck Barrow and Cleve September nicely balances the hostility of Clyde with his smooth and calmer vocals. 

As well as the performances, the set by Philip Witcomb takes on a life of its own and makes the Arts feel so much bigger than it is. The set is ambitious and impressive and coupled with great projections bu Nina Dunn and sound design by Tom Marshall make the whole show a real spectacle.

Nick Winston has done an outstanding job with this production and it's so wonderful that it's finally getting the run it deserves. How bout' you dance your way to the Arts Theatre and grab yourself a ticket for this theatrical jewel.

photo credit: Richard Davenport

Thursday 25 April 2024

Bonnie and Clyde the Musical on tour delivers a Thrilling Theatrical Experience | New Victoria Theatre | Review

Bonnie and Clyde (Tour)
New Victoria Theatre

Originally blazing onto the Broadway scene in 2011, Bonnie and Clyde: The Musical quickly gained a cult following for its bold storytelling and infectious tunes. Since finally debuting in London 10 years later with a concert version in January 2022, the show has had a number of runs and now, it continues making waves with its UK tour, bringing a slice of American outlaw charm to a number of regional theatres. This is an electrifying production that captivates from start to finish. The dynamic rendition of the infamous duo's story brings a fresh perspective to the stage, blending catchy tunes with poignant storytelling and surprising amount of humour, all to make it a top shelf night at the theatre

Drawing from the true narrative, Bonnie and Clyde traces the journey of its titular characters from childhood aspirations – Bonnie dreaming of a glamorous life as a movie star like Clara Bow, and Clyde yearning for the outlaw allure of Billy the Kid. Their paths cross serendipitously, leading to a tumultuous life of crime that ultimately ends in tragedy. Interwoven within their tale is an unrequited love subplot and poignant glimpses into the economic hardships of the era, which effectively sheds light on the harsh realities that drove the Barrow Brothers to pursue a life of crime.

The leading roles in this show are demanding ones indeed, but Katie Tonkinson and Alex James-Hatton make them look effortless as they bring the outlaws to life and provide killer vocals. The chemistry between the pair is excellent and I found myself absorbed in their love (and death) story. This show thrives because of the way it humanises the duo, allowing you to really feel for them despite their law breaking. Their story is one that's been romanticised a thousand times and in this case that totally works. Sure, there's a lot of be said for not glamourising killers, but I think this age old tale gets a free pass and whilst the show does shy away a bit from really showing the pain they caused, it touches on it enough that you never forget their dark sides.

Speaking of dark, let's talk about the lighting design because, I love it. Zoe Spurr has done a fantastic job of using the lighting to highlight morality and emotion. For example during 'God's Arms Are Always Open' where the church scene is bathed in warm hues, contrasting with Clyde's crime spree depicted in stark white; and during 'Raise a Little Hell' (which is the stand out scene of the show for me)– the moment Clyde takes his first life, he is bathed in almost complete darkness with only a sliver of his face lit, it's really, really effective and dramatic.

Musically Frank Wildhorn and Don Black have crafted a show that's rocky and sexy and soulful. The music is catchy and really furthers the characters' emotional journey's rather than just filling in gaps. There are a tonne of stand out moments, and vocals that will certainly give you goosebumps. Ivan Menchell's book has some great moments and is multilayered both in terms of character and plot. The pacing is at times a little slow and I do think it could be tweaked a bit to get the adrenaline up a little more but there's still lots to enjoy.

All that being said, it's a wild, law-breaking escapade that'll have you on the edge of your seat, begging for more; so grab your tickets, round up your posse, and get ready to raise a little hell with Bonnie and Clyde in Woking and on tour. 

Reviewed on Wednesday 24th April 2024
Photo Credit:

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