It’s safe to say most people know the story of Bonnie and Clyde, legendary robbers of the 1930’s, but do they really know Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow? How did they end up being killed in a horrific shower of bullets?
Bonnie and Clyde, a musical written by Frank Wildhorn, Don Black and Ivan Menchell, originally starred Broadway favourites Jeremy Jordan and Laura Osnes. The production closed after only four weeks on Broadway, however it did receive two Tony nominations, one for Osnes’s performance as Bonnie and the other for Best Original Score.
After watching this production at Spotlight Theatre, I understood why the show closed so quickly on Broadway. The songs, whilst brilliant, do not flow. The book is lacking and I found the source material to be quite choppy. This could possibly lead to a poor production.
However, I was absolutely blown away by how the cast, crew and creative team managed to make this particular production of Bonnie and Clyde so spectacular. I have to say that this band was the best I have ever heard in a community theatre production. It was so well balanced that, if I didn’t know otherwise, I would have believed it was tracks. This band, under the baton of Music Director and Co-Director Brady Watkins, was tight and of the highest professional standard.
I also wish that community theatres such as Spotlight could afford high quality microphones. Whilst the headsets served their purpose, I wished there was a better way to showcase the incredible talent pouring from their hearts out onto stage. This is why we as a community of theatre lovers must support our local theatres. Buying tickets to support the upkeep of the theatre, especially when people are giving professional performances for free, is the least we can do. The government has shown they believe the arts isn’t a priority, so community support for the industry is more important than ever.
This production truly did its absolute best with the lacking book and non-existent musical flow. I truly take my hat off to everyone involved in the production for this achievement.
The technical aspects of this set are incredible. Michael Sutton’s design paid homage to the Broadway production but absolutely served the piece. I always believe it is far more impressive when community theatres achieve beautiful technical moments, as they have been created with knowledge, hard work and talent, not with engineers and money. Bravo!
The lighting design by Shaun Wilson complemented the show impeccably. It was so refreshing to see a show where the lighting had been considered and actually helped create moments, as opposed to just simple washes of colour.
Ruby Hunter played a sweet but fiery Bonnie. She connected with the audience and made them empathise with the situation this girl had found herself in.
This was also true for Todd Jesson as Clyde. As an audience you understood why these people had found themselves in the situations they had. This was one of the more confronting aspects of the production. Jesson’s portrayal of Clyde truly stole the show. His voice sung the incredibly high and difficult score with ease and passion. Jesson truly left his soul on the stage. This is a performance that should not be missed.
Another honourable mention must go to Kristine Dennis for her performance as Blanche, Clyde’s sister-in-law. Dennis was equal parts heartfelt and comedic with an absolutely stunning voice. Her performance was brilliant and honest from beginning to end.
Bonnie and Clyde plays its final three performances this coming weekend.
For all ticketing details head to www.spotlighttheatre.com.au
Images by Steve Woodfine