Bugsy Malone

Date 21st May 2015
Society Wadhurst Dramatic Club
Venue Wadhurst Memorial Hall
Type of Production Musical
Director Amanda Dann
Musical Director Martin Steadman
Choreographer Kirsty Cooper


Author: Anne Lawson

~~WytKidz – Wadhurst Youth Theatre.
Prohibition, mobsters and molls, splurge guns, custard pies and razzmatazz was the order of the day.  Action New York 1929, where there’s warfare between gangsters.  Dandy Dan’s hoodlums terrorise the area – his rival is Fat Sam who runs the Grand Slam Speakeasy. Fat Sam’s in trouble and hires, down on his heels city slicker, Bugsy Malone to help. Bugsy is smitten by attractive Blousey who’s aiming for Hollywood.  Will peace ever reign in the city again?  Nick Dann nicely designed programme contained a colourful company photograph central page – a lot of happy faces. Effective front cover with yellow splurges and trade mark black trilby trimmed with white.  A professional sound from the band, screened from view was led by bass guitarist Martin Steadman, with Emma Steadman keyboard, Will Wormwood guitar, Nick Dann saxophone and Ben Mummery on Drums. Beautifully created scenery by perfectionists Colin and Nance.  Painting on the side flats either side full of detail – fans, upright telephones, cars and art deco window panes.  What about the super model car and van, well handled by the cast. The backdrop for Sam’s Speakeasy, in geometric style of the era, perfect.  John Bush and Denise Beedell were responsible for the many props used. A lot of work with such a large cast for Jill and Penny, the costumes were totally in keeping, some lovely flapper dresses with accessories and shoes, hoodlums in little suits and where did you manage a get all those hats? Hair styles and make up applied well with some great touches – like drawn on specs.  Resident Lighting Designer was John Bush once again with Bill Johnson the Sound Engineer. A new addition for the group was a set of personal mikes.  Certainly gave soloists extra confidence in  getting their words over to an audience, providing a good clear sound – to be handled with great care and not to be totally relied upon, for each singer must try to project to the back of the hall. ‘Noises off’ realistic, although perhaps at times telephone rings were not quite synchronised.
A big job to undertake Amanda – hard work and patience, but what a result. The stage was well used as was the auditorium, with the cast well rehearsed knowing their entrances and positions. The splurge scenes very well choreographed by Kirsty Cooper with hilarious removal of various corpses! Musical numbers directed by Martin Steadman came over well. A moving rendition of ‘Tomorrow’ performed by Tacita Alder as forever sweeping Fizzy. Joseph Trotter characterised a fast moving Fat Sam – good hand movements and use of stage area, whilst Max Murphy as Bugsy was a more casual, cool personality. In contrast Alex Bush played the intimidating hoodlum Dandy Dan. Enjoyable performance from Bebe Bayford as would be starlet Blousey and good jealousy shown by Charlie Frampton as Tallulah.  So many named roles, I cannot mention you all, but thought you took your characters, developed them into individuals, but captured the spirit of working as a team. Strong rousing chorus numbers – I particularly enjoyed ‘You Give a Little Love,’ ‘So you Wanna Be a Boxer’ and ‘Fat Sam’s Grand Slam’ with the addition of very nice solos.  Prompt Dot Smytherman was practically redundant! Well done to you all for working extremely hard with script and lyrics. Stage crew Merlin Beedell and Eliot Kemp with SM Russ Kirton kept the production moving along - a slick opening night.  It’s good to be a team player, supporting each other, and was very pleasing to see you enjoying yourselves and so were the audience.