Bonnie and Clyde

Date 7th October 2015
Society Bolsover Drama Group
Venue The Bolsover School, Bolsover
Type of Production Musical
Director Ray Hall
Musical Director Nigel Turner

Report

Author: Joyce Handbury

Bonnie and Clyde is a musical with music by Frank Wildhorn, lyrics by Don Black based on a book by Ivan Menchell. It is set in the 1930’s and based on Folk heroes in the depression-era of America as portrayed by Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway in Arthur Penn’s 1967 movie. Bonnie Parker falls in love with Clyde Barrow, a criminal on the run from the law with his brother, Buck. Their love affair soon spirals out of control as they commit a series of bank robberies whilst Buck’s wife Blanche wants her husband ‘to give himself up’ and start a new life. As their notoriety - and body count- rises, the ill-fated lovers find themselves at the top of the Public Enemies list.

The four main characters excelled in their given roles. Dale Shaw was so convincing as the gun-toting, Billy the Kid inspired, Clyde Barrow. It is a very demanding role and he gave such an energetic and enthusiastic performance depicting the various complexities of the character superbly. His serenading of Bonnie, whilst sitting in a bathtub, playing the ukelele and singing’Bonnie’, was so tenderly and movingly sung but, he also delivered the more upbeat numbers with great relish - a terrific performance! Leanne Collins was splendid as Bonnie Parker who fantasizes about a film career and having her poems published. She truly loves Clyde and very soon becomes embroiled in his ‘world’. She excelled in both acting and singing and the heart wrenching number ’Dyin’ Ain’t So Bad’ was just glorious. Another outstanding performance came from Michelle Shaw as Blanche, the god-fearing, doting wife of Clyde’s susceptible brother, Buck. Her singing of ‘Now That’s What I call A Dream’ was so movingly delivered as was the duet ‘You Love Who You Love’ that she sang with Bonnie which was truly delightful. James Sheppard put in a strong performance as Buck trying to please both his wife but at the same time wanting to show allegiance to his brother and to making some easy money. Madeleine Sutton and Jack Wilson were so self-assured and ideally suited for the roles of the young Bonnie and Clyde. Excellent support came from the members of the State of Texas officials, the Police Department, Clyde’s parents, Bonnie’s mother, the three sassy ladies in the hairdresser’s salon and what a great voice Geoff Smythe had as The Preacher. The choristers, in their splendid robes, accompanying The Preacher were first-rate. The innovative set, built in-house, was multi functional and coped admirably with the extremely large number of scenes. The set designer, construction team and property department deserve a lot of credit for their efforts. I loved the car (complete with headlights that worked) which emerged from the back of the stage several times and the back projections just added the final touch. As Bonnie and Clyde made their exit in the car we hear the sound of gunfire and the inevitable happens! Every congratulation must go to Ray Hall who skillfully directed his first show for the group, to all the backstage crew and to the wonderful cast whose obvious hard work, commitment and enthusiasm made this a most entertaining piece of theatre.