BONNIE AND CLYDE
by Linnie Reedman lyrics and music byJoe Evans.
King’s Head Theatre 115 Upper Street N1 1QN To 21 September 2013.
Tue–Sat 7.15pm Mat Sun 3pm.
Runs 2hr 20min One interval.
TICKETS: 0207 478 0160.
Review: William Russell 29 August.
Corny and Trite.
By no stretch of the imagination could this show be called a musical. Charitable folk might call it a play with interpolated songs, except that as a play it is about as inept as one could imagine.
There is no reason why the story of the couple who robbed banks should not make a decent drama, but Linnie Reedman’s book is woefully constructed. There is no first act climax to invite one to return after the interval and the ending just sort of happens so that one is not sure whether it is all over even although Bonnie and Clyde are dead.
Their story is familiar because of Arthur Penn’s 1967 film starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. It also had a first-rate script which, with the fine photography, evoked the Great Depression in Middle America perfectly, albeit the two stars were rather more glamorous than the real people.
The trouble with Ms Reedman’s play is that Clyde comes over as an idiot, Bonnie a dumb virago with aspirations to be a Hollywood starlet, and everyone else so thick it is incredible they could have known one end of a gun from the other, let alone drive a car. They are all totally uninteresting, their stupidity so mind-numbing one does not care about any of them while the film clips of the real killing scene showing the bullet-ridden car are so badly projected that any sense of impending doom and tragedy is lost.
The cast struggle bravely with their appalling material, although the fact that a couple of them cannot sing does not help. The occasional songs by Joe Evans are pleasant but add nothing to the dramatic needs of Bonnie and Clyde’s story which, if their tale is to have any dramatic purpose, must show them as young dispossessed people aspiring to better things, but the wrong way, demonised by the sensational press and radio.
In a perfectly sensible programme note Ms Reedman sets this out, but she has failed to put any of it on stage which, since she also directed the thing, is something to marvel at.
Bonnie Parker: Samantha Louise Clark.
Clyde Barrow: Tom Sword.
Sheriff Ted Hinton: Gary Tushaw.
Buck Barrow: Antony Jardine.
Blanche Barrow: Emma-Jane Martin.
WD Jones: Chrisopher Burr.
Sheriff Frank Hamer: James Lloyd Pegg.
Voice Overs: Sid Phoenix.
Director: Linnie Reedman.
Designer: Katharine Heath.
Lighting: Catherine Webb.
Musical Arranger: Peter Mitchell.
Musical Director: Phil Mitchell.
Musical Staging: Kathleen Gilbert.
Voice coach: Simon Money.