Bugsy Malone

Date 14th March 2020
Society Bolton Catholic Musical and Choral Society
Venue Walmsley Parish Hall, Bolton
Type of Production Musical
Director Gary Harvey
Musical Director Jennie Pearce
Choreographer Sam Hill


Author: Claire Ashworth

Thank you BCMCS for your warm welcome and hospitality during the show. Bugsy Malone is one of my favourite Youth Musicals - I have seen quite a few productions of it and each new cast highlights different things in the script. It was strange for me to not see a traditional orchestra pit because in this venue the orchestra is completely hidden under the stage, saying that, they gave some great sound and were ably conducted by guest conductor David Wilson - I could just see the top of the back of his head.

The set for the show was very simple. I particularly enjoyed the way the cast came right up to the audience by putting chairs and tables right at the front below the stage lip in the traditional orchestra pit area, this allowed the audience to feel involved and was visually exciting. The actual stage area in this venue is not very deep so this also gave the actors on the stage enough room to move about freely. Fat Sam’s Gang and Dandy Dan’s Gang we’re both lovely and strong, they delivered their dialogue clearly and gave Fat Sam (Archie Howarth) and Dandy Dan ( Theo Howarth) a lot to bounce back off. I loved Archie’s characterisation, he never once let it slip and had obviously worked very hard on it, each eyebrow lift and fist punch was carefully timed yet delivered seemingly spontaneously. We (the audience) loved him and his larger than life character as soon as he stepped on the stage. His accent was great throughout, diction and enunciation clear and his projection spot on. I think Archie is one to look out for in the future. Theo as Dandy Dan showed us the other side, his character was much more refined and reserved, I enjoyed the chemistry and contrast between them both. Amber Hughes gave us a good sassy Tallulah, with some superb choreography and strong vocals. Personally for me, Tallulah’s make up was too strong and we lost some facial definition in her facial expressions because of it. Scott Williamson played Cagey Joe, he gave us some good, solid strong vocals and really owned his space and character during his number. Grace Fielding as Fizzy was a joy - I have never seen Fizzy do a tap number before (a soft shoe or a contemporary but never a full tap) this along with delivering her impressive vocals for Tomorrow was a highlight for me - she has an extensive vocal range backed up with diaphragmatic strength, definitely a vocalist to keep an eye on in the future. Libby Hill as Leroy gave us some superb character acting, she used her face and body brilliantly to convey all of Leroy’s thoughts, she could easily have played to the audience but she didn’t, her timing and delivery were spot on. Captain Smolsky (Emily Harvey) and O’Dreary (Beth Ashcroft) had some good chemistry and their dialogue was clear. I was a little confused about the missing Irish accent, but I understand that these roles were only picked up a couple of weeks prior to opening night, so fully understand in this instance it is more important to hear what is said rather than how it is said. Georgia Platt played Blousey, she gave us a good insight into the character with a good solid accent throughout, her vocals were good, she used her stage space well and interacted well with Jonathan Allen ( Bugsy Malone). Jonathan gave us a strong Bugsy, I particularly enjoyed his vocal delivery of Down And Out, he had passion when he sang and performed every inch of the song. His monalogues to the audience were good, delivered strongly and clearly . I enjoyed his chemistry with Archie ( Fat Sam).

The ensemble worked hard during this show. The choreography by Sam Hill was fresh, clean and executed well. Wardrobe must be commended - I loved the way you took the costumes both in length and texture . A huge standout for me was to see all the matching colour and style character shoes - very professional looking. The hair and make up throughout looked great and complimented the costumes and era. Sound was good, at no point was the orchestra overpowering. I would have liked some of the lighting to be a bit quicker and sharper but at no point did it detract from the performance from the cast. 

Well Done, everybody. A very enjoyable show.