Venue: The Dancehouse
Where: Manchester

Bunny Lamar runs an acting academy in Bury. What he lacks in talent he more than makes up for in enthusiasm and his Saturday morning drama class is an escape from tangled family lives for a lot of the children.Worlds collide in this MaD Theatre Company comedy when Shania, Tess and Dorian face off against mean girls Lily, Holly and Molly during Lamar’s latest production Bugsy Malone.

Moston seems to have decamped to the Dancehouse for this production, making for a friendly, enthusiastic and appreciative crowd.

This comedy is very camp and over-the-top which works, largely. However, because it remains so much on one level there isn’t really a balance – and remaining consistently, raucously, funny is a very hard act for any production to sustain. As a consequence, at times, it goes off the boil and there are moments when the energy dips slightly. One dimensional characters are fine up to a point but very few of the characters here have much depth. This also risks keeping the performance all on one loud, brash level which is how it felt for me.

However, there are some hilariously funny moments and some stand-out performances. The Trump children, Shania, Tess and Dorian are all very well cast and from the girls in particular there is a great, well-timed comic delivery.

Jill Hughes revels in the role of Pauline Trump, whose liaisons with her driving instructor Reg see the pair hit national headlines, leading to a surprise new career. Use of video to show the audience Pauline’s new career is clever, and as a set of characters, I would be more than happy to watch more of the Trumps.

- Laura Maley