The latest example of youthful talent in this great city of entertainment culture is The Manchester College’s Arden School of Theatre’s Bonnie & Clyde, with music by Frank Wildhorn, lyrics by Don Black, at Contact Theatre.

The story of American outlaws Clyde Barrow, his love interest and partner-in-crime Bonnie Parker and Clyde’s brother Marvin “Buck” Barrow, as their notorious exploits captured the country's imagination.

Brought to life with a super-talented cast of college students, the show is a thrill from start to finish; laced with comedy and finished wit foot-tapping and inspiring music, of ‘rockabilly’, blues, soul, folk and gospel genres, featuring songs like “You Love Who You Love”, “Raise A Little Hell”, “You’re Going Back To Jail”, ”Too Late To Turn Back Now”, “Dying’ Ain’t So Bad” and “Made In America”, matched with the slick and fluid scene changes, this show is a real treat for followers of newbies of the show alike.

Despite every cast member pulling together to make this show as professional as it can be, with truly thought-out characterisation, stand out voices have to be Paige Spurgeon’s Blanche, her husband Buck played by Jordan Smart, Callum Stretton’s Young Clyde - as well as Deputy Bud and ‘best sharpshooter in Texas’ Bob Alcorn - (who is unfortunately enough to die twice!) and Jade Timperly and Peter Tabornal’s show stopping leading roles Clyde & Bonnie (nothing rhymes with “I'm sorry, baby, nothin' rhymes with Clyde and Bonnie” or something like that…).

Supported by a cast of equally talented singers and dancers, directed and choreographed by Tim Flavin (of West End and Broadway fame after becoming the first American actor to be presented with the Laurence Olivier Award for his performance in Rodgers and Hart’s On the Toes). Other impressively performed principal parts come from show opener Jasmine Ives as Young Bonnie, Hayley Greenway and Ben Miller as Clyde and Bucks’s parents ‘Cumie’ and ‘Henry’ (Ben doubles up as retired Texan Ranger Captain Frank Hamer who recruits sharpshooter Bob), Laura Feenan as Bonnie mother Emma, Harry Newman as deputy sheriff Ted Hinton (who is madly in love with Bonnie), Kieran Forbes as Sherriff Schmid, Jodie Brewer’s Governor Ferguson and Claire Chambers as the soulful preacher.

Cameos of Judge, Eleanore, Shopkeeper, Stella, Bank teller, Trish and Alice come from Taylor Riley, Molly McShane, Amie Howes, Cerys Dawes, Laura Greenwood, Danielle Trigg and Roseanna Hudd-Smith.

Overall an outstanding show that you will be a foolish mug to miss! You only have tonight’s performance to hurry before these performs, whose ages you forget at times because of the sparkle, head to bigger things!

Reviewer: Chris Oatway

Reviewed: 30th May 2015