Bugsy Malone at the Lyric Hammersmith
After a £20 million splurge on its iconic building introducing state of the art facilities, the Lyric Hammersmith re-opens its doors and arms to stage Sir Alan Parker’s well-loved Bugsy Malone. And it’s an obvious union. The Lyric has a long-standing reputation for nurturing young people’s talent, while Parker’s play casts actors with an average age of 12. And what better way to celebrate the theatre’s multimillion-pound splurge than with a play that throws more splurge guns and angel delight into the mix than you would throw at an 11-year-old’s birthday party.
Sean Holmes does a great job of directing the young cast. Encouraged by Jon Bauser’s costumes – stylishly designed to embrace 1920s American mobster fashion – and the simple set, the young cast encompass the gangster theme with gusto. They embrace the slapstick and belt out the all too familiar soundtrack with admirable skill that is by no means compromised by their youthful exuberance. Sasha Gray plays a sprightly and charming Bugsy and is bang on the money with his delivery. Tallula (Asanda Jezile) exudes a gracefulness and poise beyond her years; hand and arm gestures glide through the air like a knife though melted butter. Then there’s the endearing performance by Hammed Animashaun as the bumbling giant who saves Bugsy from a mob, and the tittering act of madcap Looney Bergonzi. And Baby Face (Emily Beacock), who’s cuter than a kitten. Together they rouse chuckles across the theater from an already engaged audience.
But it is Drew McOnie’s sharp choreography and the athletic dancers that steal the show; So You Wanna Be A Boxer is a knockout, packing more punch than a boxing ring full of heavyweights. Leaps are high and light, footwork nimble and group work tightly knitted.
Filled with energy and more buckets of fun than a trip to Legoland, this production amuses and delights right up to when the curtains come down and the audience is literally brought to their feet. The audience claps in glee as the actors coax in rejoicing their merry onstage antics, their vitality splashing like a waterfall of youth. Then it’s time to leave, and everybody quickly remembers their age.
Bugsy Malone is on at the Lyric Theatre from 11th April until 1st August 2015, for further information or to book visit here.