“Anybody who is anybody will soon walk through that door!”
Speakeasies. Showgirls. Rival gangs. Custard pies. It can only be the iconic hit musical, Bugsy Malone.
We were lucky enough to be invited to come and see Bugsy Malone at the Wales Millennium Centre for their opening night. I remember watching the 1976 film when I was in school and fell in love with it, so I was very excited to see this on the stage.
Although I was excited to see this, with an infamous show like this you never know if it will meet your expectation but my worries were quickly dissolved from the very first number. From the start, this show pulls you in and it feels like you’re actual at Fat Sam’s Speakeasy. The breaking of the fourth wall added something special to it.
Bugsy Malone did something that no one has ever done before and probably will never do again. With darker themes like prohibition, class divides and gangs, it’s so interesting to see them all played by young kids. But I was not expecting the level of talent each member of the cast had. To step into the shoes of these iconic roles is no easy task and the talent shown on stage was nothing short of spectacular. A standing ovation to Gabriel Payne as Bugsy Malone, Mia Lakha as Blousey Brown, Albie Snelson as Fat Sam, Jasmine Sakyiama as Tallulah, Aidan Oti as Fizzy, Desmond Cole as Dandy Dan and all the incredible ensemble cast.
The physical comedy in this show had the audience in stitches throughout, with perfect comedic timings and loveably simple characters like Knuckles. And Fat Sam (Albie Snelson) in particular was incredible, holding his position on stage and capturing the audience’s hearts. Taking on such well-known characters is difficult but the way they encapsulated their roles and added their own dimensions to them was brilliantly done.
Visually this show is amazing! The contrast of the dark, dangerous streets of New York, with the bright lights of Fat Sam’s, without even moving the set. Hats off to Lighting Director Philip Gladwell and Set & Costume Director Jon Bausor! It really captured 1920s New York.
This was a very dance-heavy show, with specular full-cast numbers that had you tapping your feet. Drew McOnie (Choreographer) is a true talent to put together such show-stopping numbers, especially with such a young cast. It was interesting to see this show’s version of some of these iconic numbers, such as ‘Fat Sam’s Grand Slam’, ‘So You Wanna Be A Boxer’, ‘Down And Out’ and ‘Tomorrow’. A powerful blend of classic jazz with a modern twist.
Not often would I recommend a show to everyone, but Bugsy Malone has something that everyone can enjoy. Everyone in the audience, from young to old, was loving every minute.
Bugsy Malone will be running at the Wales Millennium Centre until the 21st of January and is a definite must see. The show is selling out FAST so get your tickets now!
All photography credits to Pamela Raith