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Belgrade Theatre review: Bugsy Malone

Bugsy Malone, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, until Sept.18

By Heidi Barber

Best remembered as the 1976 film that launched the career of Jodie Foster who was 12 years old at the time, and the debut of the wonderfully messy splurge gun.

The story revolves around two warring gangs in prohibition era New York led by Fat Sam and Dandy Dan.

Unlike many other mobster stories of that era, the cast of this play are predominantly children and the weapons are splurge guns and custard pies.

Fat Sam (Charlie Buns) is played charismatically well as he controls his speakeasy empire despite the continual efforts of his rival Dandy Dan, to destroy him.

His love interest Tallulah (Taziva-Faye Katsande) shines in the role made famous by Jodie Foster.

This was always going to be a hard act to follow but Taziva-Faye hits every note with impressive control over her voice throughout the peformance.

The stripped back set transforms effortlessly into varied locations including a boxing gym, Fat Sam’s club and even an inventive car chase sequence.

The props glide down from above along with the bright bulb lights which add to the buoyant atmosphere of the speakeasy club.

The addition of an adult ensemble cast blends in perfectly with the younger cast members and their delivery of two of the main showstopping numbers, “So you wanna be a boxer” and “Bad Guys” is

exceptional with Knuckles (Ru Fisher) giving a particularly memorable performance in the latter.

This is a slick, high energy production with a keen sense of fun and momentum. The mega mix finale is the perfect lively and cheerful ending to this upbeat show.

Photo by Johan Persson


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