Member’s review of Bugsy Malone
Well first off – I think the only response can be ‘Wow’. I’ve been involved in numerous productions with the Riverside Players Youth Group and am constantly amazed by their ability. Even Thomas (or future Youth Group star, as I call him) at 3 months was enthralled!
To the stars of the show, the cast. I was very impressed with the whole lot of them. The singing was full of energy, the dancing was the same and the acting believable. I was particularly impressed with Blousey’s (Matilda Grimms) singing. A lovely pure voice with lots of potential and her a cappella rendition of Busgy Malone gave me tingles. If you wanna be a boxer was the only song that perhaps could do with more work but a very hard song and our soloist, Cagey Joe (Elizabeth Gough) was fabulous then and in her marvellous ability to sing ‘badly’. It takes a lot of skill to sing badly well and she did that with aplomb.
Comic timing was a big strength in this show with everyone and was particularly present with Fat Sam (William Gough) . Another great strength was the fact that the set was dressed by the cast themselves. It made the show seamless and is a lot more responsibility onto an obviously very able cast.
There was unfortunately a power cut during the performance and the cast carried on with fervour regardless. This is a testament to them and their training of ‘the show must go on’. Although for safety a pause was required, their persistence was admirable. The same must be said for Emilia Pound, one of the Tallulah girls, who obviously had an arm injury and sported a stylish purple sling but still gave a great performance.
Some tips for our budding actors, sometimes we had groups of people with their back to the audience, we’d love to see your faces! Remember that we don’t know the words so annunciation even in your American accents is really important. Lastly – the amount of noise you make being rowdy with your friends is good practise for how much you need to project on stage whether or not you have microphones.
For the audience, the atmosphere that greeted you as you walked in was incredibly authentic. The finishing touches from the front of house team costumes to the table clothes and ‘bar call’ lights on the table made it really seem you were in a speak easy. The format of this production with the smaller tables and bar service is definitely one to repeat.
The production team have obviously been a fabulous asset for the show. The set was designed by Emma Stretton who gave us a wonderful set and theme which carried on throughout the whole auditorium. The lighting was very sympathetic to the set and executed well. Costumes were totally on trend for the era (Shari Newton, Vicki Adams-Salmon, Ferne Haxby) and they all looked brilliant. I particularly liked the Tallulah girl costumes and their variety. The band led by Dale Wills were brilliant and really finished off the show the way a piano or backing tracks wouldn’t be able to. I also know that the SM (Ben Newton) and some of the crew (Lawrence Davey, Andrew McMillan) were roped in at the very last minute and you would not have known. Well done team!
Finally a very big well done to Naomi Morgan for pulling together what is I think the best production I’ve seen from the Youth Group since I can remember and a very worthy piece for the popular summer show slot. I hope to see more from such a talented bunch.