Codys Productions Present Alan Parker’s ‘Bugsy Malone’ at the Brindley Theatre, Runcorn. Being very familiar with the name ‘Bugsy Malone’ but having never seen the production or movie, I am very privileged to have my first experience an unforgettable one from the talented youth at Codys!
‘Bugsy Malone’ is a slapstick musical based in the fantastic prohibition-era. The plot is silly but infectious as we follow the lead, Bugsy Malone (Issac Hartill), who is trying to stay out of trouble as some rival mob crime unravels around him. Love blossoms when Bugsy meets wannabe singer Blousey Brown (Sophia Thomson) but challenges arise as this pair try to muddle past all the hoodlums and showgirls who are trying to make it in New York City.
This is a spoof comedy that exchanges guns for whipped cream and with a full youth cast, Codys have made an excellent choice with this production as it’s incredibly unique before it’s even begun.
This production showcased an array of fine talent with every performer making an impact on the stage. Bugsy was well cast and instantly lovable. Issac Hartill showed class with his characterisation and stance as well as his great rapport with the audience. I believe he even nailed some improvisation when something went wrong that was so good, I questioned whether it was supposed to happen – this young man is a true professional. Similarly, Fizzy won our hearts with his beautiful rendition of ‘Tomorrow’, Harvey Farrell was excellent and made a huge impact every time he was on stage. I also particularly enjoyed how Ewan Schooler characterised the villain Dandy Dan and Blousey Brown played by Sophia Thomson has a sweet, sensational voice that gave me Goosebumps every time. Richard Connolly has to get a mention for his comedy gold moments as Lieutenant O’Dreary- you brought all the ‘father ted’ vibes that we know and love! Individual mentions aside, this show would be nothing without its chorus and Codys ensemble is truly excellent with their hard work paying off as the big numbers oozed quality and style.
The Choreography within this production was particularly impressive, it was devised expertly and completely in keeping with the era as well as being very well rehearsed. Opening night nerves were noted at the start of the production however there was a big difference between the ‘Fat Sam’s Grand Slam’ dance from the start to the end of the show and it was lovely to see this talented young group relax and enjoy themselves. You all know your moves and you’ve done the hard work, now it’s time to smile and enjoy it!
The staging of this production was quite clever and I feel that different areas of the stage were utilised to their full potential. My only quam would be that Fat Sam’s office was quite high up meaning that some of the action was lost from such a distance to the audience. Despite this, the set was beautiful with the sparkly lights and Fat Sam’s sign making a real statement.
The production team have also excelled in creating some fantastic atmospheric moments through lighting, sound and smoke. The costumes were perfect and looked excellent, adding more substance to the authenticity of this show.
Overall, ‘Bugsy Malone’ by Codys Productions is a highly enjoyable night of entertainment. The music is catchy, the story is fun and the style is fabulously dapper. It is easy to forget that this cast is made up of young amateur performers; aged 11 to 17, whose talent and commitment would give adult professionals a run for their money. As I left the theatre, my final thought went to all the parents who unwaveringly support these young people to develop their talent, congratulations to you and everyone involved in this feel-good production. ‘Bugsy Malone’ continues at The Brindley Theatre Runcorn until Saturday the 14th of September 2019, for ticket information please visit https://thebrindley.org.uk/
Reviewer: Blathine Maguire
Reviewed: 11th September 2019
North West End Rating: ★★★★★