BWW Review: BONNIE & CLYDE Keep the Deadly Passion Alive at St. Dunstan's Theatre Guild Of Cranbrook
Bonnie & Clyde, the musical about the life of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, is playing until October 13th at St. Dunstan's Theatre Guild of Cranbrook. The show is about the infamous Bonnie and Clyde of the Barrow Gang that robbed banks and committed murders around Depression-era Texas. I'll let the real Bonnie Parker's words kick off my review:
You've all read the story of Jesse James
of how he lived and died.
if you're still in need
of something to read,
here's the story of Bonnie and Clyde.*
Bonnie and Clyde have a longstanding air of mystery and intrigue surrounding them. People are either drawn to their epic tale because they adore their love story or they are fascinated by their criminal activities. Whatever the reason, audiences come expecting to see a passionate Bonnie and Clyde because every account of their story that is how they have been described - whether in love, in anger, in their drive for robbing banks - it all has been passion filled.
In order to play their larger than life personas, it would take two performers with exceptional chemistry who could fuel the passion on stage. Kayla Smith and Nour Sanif did not disappoint in their performances of Bonnie and Clyde. Individually, they gave strong performances, but when they were together the stage lit up - and that is not just literally speaking with the amazing screen projections designed by Jeff Nelson, but more on that later. Smith and Sanif made each other better by enhancing their partner's character. The two had many numbers throughout the show that they sang beautifully together, but "Too Late To Turn Back Now" really displayed their chemistry and showed they understood the passion of Bonnie and Clyde's relationship.
One quick mention has to be made of Kayla Smith's ballad, "Dyin' Ain't So Bad." She was flawless in every way: her powerful voice, her command of the stage, and in her passion as Bonnie. A wonderful, wonderful, moment. Bravo!
Also, do you like comedy duos? Good, here's why: Andrew Catterall (Buck Barrow) and Julie Noe (Blanche Barrow), like Smith and Sanif, were cast exceptionally well. Their comedic timing throughout the show was like they have been performing together on stage for years. "You're Going Back to Jail" was one of the audiences (and my) favorite numbers of the show. Catterall, Noe, Danielle Cheli Cover, Casey Vandyke, and Katie Kucemba were hilarious in the song and it finished with the audience giving them a round of loud, cheering applause.
Bonnie & Clyde at St. D's is wonderful and if I have not convinced you yet, here is a little more...
You're supposed to hate the so-called "bad guy," but in this show the police are the so-called bad guys, at least to Bonnie and Clyde. Dean Joyce plays the role of Ted Hinton and with his voice, it makes it really hard to dislike the bad guy. "You Can Do Better Than Him" was a WOW! number when Hinton started to sing. Get excited for that one!
Whether or not you're a church person, this show has you covered with Joel Mapes performance as Preacher. I'm not going to lie, I would listen to any type music if Mapes was singing, but his performance made me wish I could have jumped out of my seat and danced - and I am not a dancer! Like Dean Joyce's performance when he was singing, it was unexpected and every moment kept building on the last one. Both actors, for extremely different reasons, filled the audience with emotion through their exceptional voices and joy of singing.
Sometimes shows call for a lot on the stage to tell a story and other times they let the performers and the story tell itself. St. D's did the latter and it worked out perfectly. The minimalist set let the screen projections by Jeff Nelson shine through, which enhanced the entire performance without overpowering it. Allowing the real parts of history through photographs and facts shine through on stage as the performers told the tale through song and dance really emphasized the rich lore of the story of Bonnie & Clyde.
Bonnie & Clyde is a show for anyone. It's filled with passion, romance, anger, history, and - above all else - exceptional singing all set to a gospel, blues, rock, and, rockabilly score. Definitely catch the last weekend if you can!
Some day they'll go down together.
They'll bury them side by side.
To few it'll be grief,
to the law a relief.
But it's death for Bonnie and Clyde.*
*The Trail's End (aka "The Story of Bonnie and Clyde" by Bonnie Parker, 1934)
Bonnie & Clyde is currently running until October 13th at St. Dunstan's Theatre of Cranbrook. For more information and tickets, call 1-844-DUNSTAN or visit www.stdunstanstheatre.com.