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Bonnie and Clyde

The musical adaptation of the classic story of Bonnie and Clyde at the King's Head Theatre but doesn't have the passion that the characters require, says Vicky Ellis

By • London
WOS Rating:
Samantha Louise Clark
Samantha Louise Clark
John Watts

Thrilling and scandalous in equal measure, the Prohibition Era antics of American bank robbers Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow continue to grip our imagination - recently even Kanye West and Eminem have had a pop at retelling their rise and fall from grace.

In this latest adaptation at the King's Head Theatre there's not enough of the heady passion that's stoked by dicing with danger on show.

A new musical by Linnie Reedman with music and lyrics by Joe Evans, it gets a little too lost in the storytelling, not leaving enough space for Bonnie and Clyde (Samantha Louise Clark and Tom Sword) to kindle a spark.

By the second scene together they're already shacked up, not helped by first song of the night, "We Have Our Dreams", which fails to grab attention or tell us why the pair have such an attraction.

Things warm up with the following "Going Straight" - some sparky stuff from Emma-Jane Martin as the vicar's daughter in love with Clyde's brother Buck (Antony Jardine) - and it's telling that her feelings for him seem more sketched out than Bonnie's for Clyde. Other tunes are more vivid, for right or wrong reasons: "Rattlesnake" for one is unexpectedly brutal.

Kudos to the props and costume department for the cool tommy guns and Bonnie's trim cigar-smoking outfit - it's bang on accurate, as we know because of the numerous photos projected onto the backstage wall. (It's not quite clear why we needed the costumed snaps of the cast though.)

The versatile set peppered with mocked up ads for Coca-Cola (the gang pass messages in empty coke bottles) and Gold Flake cigarettes serves for both American diner and various hide-outs for the Barrow bunch.

While the title pair aren't lacklustre, they don't exactly sizzle. Clark's fame-hungry, poetry-penning anti-heroine seems vain and ditzy while too-prettified Sword could cut a sharper, more rugged figure.

Thankfully a rich-voiced Gary Tushaw is the man hunting them down, Sheriff Ted Hinton. He could be a young Tom Hanks - and he certainly lends his part has a Catch Me If You Can urgency. In a way, his is the most exciting slice of personal drama when the inevitable finally comes.

- Vicky Ellis

Tags: Bonnie and Clyde


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