Esme Violet Anderson gives us an insight into why she loved the feel-good production of Bugsy Malone: The Musical at the Edinburgh Playhouse…
If their young faces did not give it away, you would have no idea that a lot of the cast of Bugsy Malone are kids, with ages ranging from around 9 – 15. The young performers blended in seamlessly with the adult cast and watching these future stars shine brought so much joy.
As you would expect, Bugsy Malone was a feel-good, fun show to watch. All the numbers were exceptional, and the dancing was brilliant. And obviously, the acting! Fat Sam, played by the talented Charlie Burns, was no exception. He had the perfect accent and charm for his character and had the audience in fits of laughter, especially when he had to do his own ‘scene change.’
Bugsy Malone has many big numbers, which you may typically expect to have big pieces of set alongside. However, with a few light-up signs and tables, the minimalist props and scenery worked to bring Fat Sam’s Grand Slam to life. The ensemble made this show special, with so much energy and character in each number. Every ensemble member gave it their all, which added so much power to this show.
My favourite moments/numbers in this show were the ‘Car Chase’ and ‘Bad Guys.’ The car chase had a simple cart structure, but the lighting, music and sound effects fully immersed the audience and made us feel like the characters were being chased and were in real danger. Bad Guys was a fun number, starting with four gangsters and ending with a large ensemble. It was brilliant from start to finish. Despite the fact it is about “bad guys,” it made me smile. That number felt like everyone was working as a team, which reminded me of the joy of theatre.
I cannot finish writing this review without mentioning the extraordinarily talented Taziva-Faye Katsande, who played the role of Tallulah with such conviction and power. She held such an excellent presence and stole the stage in every scene. Her singing, dancing, and acting was a joy to watch, and I saw a future star on that stage. Another little mention to Ava Hope Smith, who played Lena/Babyface. She was so cute in both roles and had a confidence that I have never seen, even with adult actors. It is nice to see that the future of theatre is in good hands.
The only thing I have to say about this production is that I wish there had been more mess. Of course, there were the classic splurge guns and custard pies, but I wish there had been more shaving foam and custard all over the stage, as that is one of the main joys of this show. However, the performance more than made up for that!
The whole production made me so happy, and I could not stop smiling. Bugsy Malone is one of those shows that makes you forget reality and leave the theatre feeling joyful.
Bugsy Malone The Musical, playing this week at Edinburgh Playhouse 15th – 20th November 2022.