This is a show starring the younger members of the Mellow Dramatics who rise to the challenge of converting a much-loved musical film into a stage show.
It has to be said they have achieved the transformation remarkably well.
For those of you who are not familiar with the film – oh, shame on you – it tells the story of rival gangsters Fat Sam and Dandy Dan and the characters who cross their paths or are members of their respective entourages. Think Damon Runyon with added ‘splurge guns’.
Speakeasy owner Fat Sam is worried that his rival Dandy Dan will try to take control of the speakeasy. Blousey Brown arrives to audition but Sam is busy to see her and she meets Bugsy. Dandy Dan’s men raid the speakeasy and then make more attacks on Fat Sam’s businesses ending up with all his rackets.
Fat Sam hires Bugsy Malone to take him to a meeting with Dan that turns out to be a trap but Bugsy saves Fat Sam
Bugsy and Blousey get back together with Bugsy promising to take her to Hollywood.
Furthermore, Bugsy has one final job to do for Fat Sam before he can fulfill his promise to Blousey.
The musical numbers involving the company at Fat Sam’s speakeasy are very well-choreographed and the tap dancing is great.
The standout songs from the film are performed well with the young principals really going to town and making the numbers their own.
Comedic moments abound as the love story between Bugsy (Owen Wardle) and Blousey (Hannah Smith) unfolds against the backdrop of gang warfare between Fat Sam (Dan Robb) and Dandy Dan (Calum Launchbury).
The gang members are just the right side of stupid without going over the top, as are the investigating police officers.
One of the highlights of the show for me was Joe Beckwith as Fizzy and his performance of Tomorrow, filled with longing and a yearning dance sequence.
Ben Martin as Cagey Joe (So You Wanna Be a Boxer?) was another moment to savour as was Olivia Matlock’s rendition of My Name is Tallulah.
Bugsy Malone is an excellent evening’s entertainment with some great performances from the young cast who take on the challenge of an iconic film and make it their own.
Bugsy Malone, presented by the Mellow Dramatics is on at the Brewhouse arts centre, in Union Street every evening until Saturday, January 16th. The matinee at 2.30pm on Saturday has already sold out.
For ticket availabilty contact the Brewhouse box office on 01283 508100.
picture courtesy of Phillip Ingham Photography