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Newbury YoungStars - Bugsy Malone

24th to 26th July 2003.

From the Newbury Weekly News.

It's all messin' with this bunch of guys

Newbury YoungStars: Bugsy Malone, at New Greenham Arts, from Thursday, July 24 to Saturday, July 26

Set in downtown New York, Bugsy Malone tells the tale of gangster warfare in a world where bullets have been replaced with custard pies, flour bombs and silly string.

The Newbury YoungStars played the Prohibition-era mobsters with great energy and a huge sense of fun in this tongue-in-cheek tribute to the 1920s' gangster flick. Fat Sam, who runs one of the most popular speakeasies in town, is in danger of being closed down by his 'business rival' Dandy Dan, who, armed to the teeth with the new and improved Splurge guns - is not to be trifled with!

Director and choreographer Jeanette Maskell used a huge cast to fill the acting area with lively and enthusiastic musical numbers and well-rehearsed solos and dialogue.

It is quite a complicated piece, with much coming and going, and loads of props. But it was in good hands and the spirit of the show was well captured. It was also a marvellous feat of organisation, and although the open set (like a nightclub) looked good and served to make the action slick, it was not always easy to work out the location of the action.

High standards were achieved though, with mature performances; Christopher Scott particularly, was immaculate and showed tremendous presence in the title role. Christopher Harper as Dandy Dan, in a sharp white suit and fedora looked and acted just right and Lucy Jolliffe was well cast as the aspiring night club singer, handling her musical numbers with style.

Fat Sam was imbued with a good sense of fun by Sam Trumper and as Tallulah, Kate Izzard's characterisation was spot on, again with confident and effective solos. There were many smaller roles, but however small or chorus member, they all gave of their best, making an outstanding contribution the production.

Music was provided by musical director Michael Evans on Keyboards, plus bass and drums. With a smoky late-night-jazz-combo feel they gave a perfect and sympathetic accompaniment that was most pleasing. With well thought out lighting and attractive costumes, it was a show that was good to look at, hugely entertaining, and a credit to the many concerned both on and off stage.

In the final scene, as each side fought for supremacy, the custard really started flying. It all ended in a sticky mess, and lets just say (sorry) that everyone got their just desserts.