It takes a lot for a vocal performance to give me goosebumps – and yet it happened several times over during Harlequin Musical Theatre’s production of Bonnie and Clyde.
A time-honoured classic, the musical explores the daring adventures of the real Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow whose thirst for fame and excitement led to them becoming two of America’s most notorious outlaws at the height of the Great Depression.
The show, directed by Dan Chasemore, begins with a young Bonnie Parker (Samara Bayliss) and a young Clyde Barrow (Tim Cloves) singing an impressive rendition of Picture Show. The two do a fantastic job of setting the scene before making way for Keith Marr and Nicolette Nes to take over as the present day Bonnie and Clyde – in my opinion, both perfect casting choices.
Nicolette was a stand out performer from the first note and as the show progressed, created some incredible harmonies with Keith who also held a strong stage presence and wide vocal range.
The show, although chronicling a dark criminal journey, is sprinkled with comic relief moments throughout the show, mainly by Clyde’s outlaw brother, Buck Barrow (Brian Wolfman) whose goofy character is contrasted nicely by his righteous wife Blanche (Katrina McConnell).
The audience is introduced to Blanche and Buck in Scene Three as Buck returns home after breaking out of jail – before Blanche tells him he’ll be turning himself in the next morning to serve the rest of his sentence before starting fresh in the eyes of God. A catchy performance of You’re Going Back To Jail is the first of those well-placed comedic moments.
Whilst it’s a comparatively small role, I couldn’t review the show without a special mention of the preacher, played by Simon Chapman. Simon effortlessly commanded the stage with his renditions of God’s Arms Are Always Open and Made in America – both responsible for the aforementioned goosebumps.
Also notable was how Blanche’s character development was executed perfectly, leading the audience from perhaps disliking her rigidness at the beginning to feeling sympathetic for her position as the show goes on, realising all she really wants is to protect the love of her life.
If you fancy taking a trip back in time to witness the iconic love story, get in quick to Harlequin Musical Theatre to catch it before it ends – Bonnie and Clyde last make an appearance this Saturday 8th July. Don’t miss it!
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