Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford – until 30 June 2018.
Reviewed by Antonia Hebbert
Fun, fun, fun. Bugsy Malone performed by kids was always going to be cute, but this production by the Yvonne Arnaud Youth Theatre was seriously good. Where to begin? Alan Parker’s musical is a popular classic, but it still depends on the performers, and tonight everyone performed their socks off. Everybody on stage seemed to have a character and an important role, even if they didn’t have a big part. Apparently the cast themselves created each scene, so all credit to them, and to the directors (Ally Manson, Ellie Johnson and Julia Black) for getting such creativity and commitment from the performers.
This was a lovely looking show too. Lighting and set designs were by Declan Randall, whose projections were beautiful and atmospheric, with ingenious touches such as the fold-out telephones. Molly Fraser designed the stylish costumes. The dancing was cheeky and charming, and had some magical moments (choreography by Vicky Jukes). Musical director David Perkins and a lively little band kept everything going along briskly, and the singing was always full of commitment.
Yes, it probably helps to have an audience full of mums, grans, friends and other supporters, but that doesn’t detract from the sheer quality and attention to detail throughout this production. Special mentions for all, but especially Robyn Mirmak’s Fat Sam, Judy Kingaby and Anya Newall’s narrator-singers, and Cole Flaherty’s Fizzy, whose big solo was breathtaking.
As someone said as we came out of the theatre, “I didn’t want it to end – I just wanted them all to keep on singing!”