Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Review: BONNIE & CLYDE Considers The Life And Crimes Of Two Of America's Most Famous Gangsters Through The Medium Of Musical Theatre

BONNIE & CLYDE

Review: BONNIE & CLYDE Considers The Life And Crimes Of Two Of America's Most Famous Gangsters Through The Medium Of Musical Theatre

Tuesday 21st June 2022, 7:30pm, Hayes Theatre

BONNIE & CLYDE considers the notorious duo's desire for a better life and equally importantly, emulation of their idols fame and fortune, during the great depression. Director and Chorographer Sam Hooper reimagines Don Black (Lyrics), Frank Wildhorn (Music) and Ivan Menchall's (Book) musical for the Hayes Theatre stage to deliver a captivating story of love, obsession, revenge and retribution against the legal system and its enforcers.

Review: BONNIE & CLYDE Considers The Life And Crimes Of Two Of America's Most Famous Gangsters Through The Medium Of Musical Theatre
Teagan Wouters and Blake Appelqvist (Photo: Grant Leslie Photography)

The allure of fame and fortune is eternal, while the contemporary teen seeks to emulate their idols by being instafamous, the heroes of 1930's American teen were on the silver screen or the newspaper headlines . This musical theatre treatment poses the notion that Bonnie Elizabeth Parker and Clyde Champion Barrow were no different. The bright eyed 10 year old Bonnie (Darcy Fisher) was more focused on becoming the next "It Girl", in line with movie starlet Clara Bow, as she set her sights on becoming a Hollywood actress and rather than being concerned about what her father's recent passing meant for the financial security of her mother and herself. The 12 year old Clyde (Luisa Scrofani) had less savory, though no less famous, role models in the form of Chicago Prohibition era mobster Al Capone and Old west outlaw Billy The Kid as he resorted to petty crime when his family farm was repossessed by the bank. These desires would fuel their decisions and actions till their death in a hail of bullets from a police ambush in Louisiana in 1934. With a brief background giving insight into the misfortunes of the Parker and Barrow families, the younger Bonnie and Clyde make way for their older selves, portrayed by Teagan Wouters and Blake Appelqvist, when their stories come together in 1930.

Review: BONNIE & CLYDE Considers The Life And Crimes Of Two Of America's Most Famous Gangsters Through The Medium Of Musical Theatre
Darcy Fisher, Luisa Scrofani, Jonathan Chan, Carlo Boumouglbay and Milo Hartil (Photo: Grant Leslie Photography)

The run-down world of 1930's West Dallas and the surrounding cities and states is expressed through Simon Greer's set constructed of 'found objects', particularly a wide array of raw timber packing pallets. The apparent simplicity of the set holds a multitude of secrets as it transforms from Clyde's sister-in-law Blanche Barrow's (Milo Hartill) beauty parlor to the Eastham Prison Farm where Clyde and Marvin 'Buck' Barrow (Kieran McGrath) serve time, the diner where Bonnie works, and most notably, the 1934 Ford V-8 Bonnie and Clyde were in when they were ambushed and killed. Claudia Kryszkiewicz's costuming captures the poverty of the era while reinforcing that regardless of how tight money was, people still maintained a standard of 'respectability'. The costumes express how the Bonnie and Clyde evolve from diner waitress and petty criminal to lovebirds on the run from the law not caring that Bonnie was still technically married to high school sweetheart Roy Thornton. James Wallis set design captures the bleakness of the prison and the bright propriety of the beauty parlor while also providing a strong expression of Clyde's body count, paired with a reinforcement that he has achieved his childhood ambitions in a way that Bonnie never fully realizes, even though she does emulate Clara's fame to the degree her name is in the papers and people want her autograph.

Review: BONNIE & CLYDE Considers The Life And Crimes Of Two Of America's Most Famous Gangsters Through The Medium Of Musical Theatre
Keiran McGrath and Blake Appelqvist (Photo: Grant Leslie Photography)

The music of BONNIE & CLYDE is a wonderful mix of classic 1920s and 1930's jazz, blues, rockabilly, gospel, and country. Supported by Zara Stanton's (Music Director) 9-piece band, Teagan Wouters and Blake Appelqvist deliver powerful vocals and captivating performances that shift the focus from the duos deadly deeds to sympathizing with their desire for a better life in a world where the poor weren't given any support from the government and the banks failed to show compassion in the face of years of droughts destroying farms. Wouters ensures that Bonnie exudes both an innocence along with a strength that means she's strong enough to make her own decisions and ensure that Clyde does not see her as someone he can push around. Appelqvist has an enchanting aura about their performance that pairs smooth and sinister in one package to make it believable that Bonnie would be captivated by Clyde's charms while Blanche knew they were trouble through and through.

Review: BONNIE & CLYDE Considers The Life And Crimes Of Two Of America's Most Famous Gangsters Through The Medium Of Musical Theatre
Will Motunuu and the Cast of BONNIE & CLYDE (Photo: Grant Leslie Photography)

In addition to the strong leads, Hooper has gathered a wonderful supporting cast that contains several performers that are relatively new to the Sydney musical theatre stage. Darcy Fisher's turn as Young Bonnie is charming and her pure voice captures the old-world jazz sound in Picture Show. Milo Hartill exhibits a brilliant comic ability along with powerful voice delivering the gospel country crossover of You're Going Back to Jail as the very religious wife of Marvin 'Buck' Barrow as she longs for a law-abiding, god-fearing life even though she knows that Buck will always be drawn back to his brother's side.

Review: BONNIE & CLYDE Considers The Life And Crimes Of Two Of America's Most Famous Gangsters Through The Medium Of Musical Theatre
Blake Appelqvist and Teagan Wouters (Photo: Grant Leslie Photography)

Whether you've been intrigued by the famous fugitives or were captivated by the romanticized notion of the lawless lovebirds as made famous in Author Penn's 1967 film, you will not be disappointed by this creative production of BONNIE & CLYDE. Filled with great music, strong voices and captivating performances this work presents depression era Southern USA without the bleak depressive nature that characterizes most stories about the time period whilst not washing over the desperation and poverty that gripped the nation.

https://hayestheatre.com.au/event/bonnie-clyde-3/

Review: BONNIE & CLYDE Considers The Life And Crimes Of Two Of America's Most Famous Gangsters Through The Medium Of Musical Theatre
Teagan Wouters and Blake Appelqvist (Photo: Grant Leslie Photography)



From This Author - Jade Kops

Jade is an Aviation Safety Training Instructor with a love of Theatre, Cabaret, Musical Theatre, and music and is a committed advocate for the live performing arts industry in Sydney and Australia.... (read more about this author)


REVIEW: Kip Williams Adapts and Directs Robert Louis Stevenson's Gothic Thriller STRANGE CASE OF DR JEKYLL AND MR HYDE With Mixed Results
August 13, 2022

Following on from the success of merging live performance and live video capture, Kip Williams has given STRANGE CASE OF DR JEKYLL AND MR Hyde the same treatment with the addition of a second performer.  Gathering the same creative team that delivered the award-winning PICTURE OF DORIAN GREY, Williams and Sydney Theatre Company test whether the same formula can be used twice. 

REVIEW: Gothic Thriller JEKYLL AND HYDE THE MUSICAL Is Given A Makeover For Its Australian Professional Production Premiere
August 4, 2022

Sydney finally receives a fully staged professional production of JEKYLL AND HYDE THE MUSICAL, the musical theatre interpretation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous novella.  Under Hayden Tee’s direction the gothic exploration of the duality of human behavior is given a 20th century update with a significant change of setting from the Victorian England to a post WWII military hospital. 

Guest Reviewer Kym Vaitiekus Shares His Thoughts On ALBION
August 1, 2022

ALBIOB directer Lucy Clements has assembled a fine cast to present this analogical portrait of a nation torn between preserving the past and radically reforming the present.

Review: FANGIRLS, Yve Blake's Feel Good Celebration Of The Force Of Female Power Returns To Sydney For A Second Encore Season
July 31, 2022

The audience love for Yve Blake’s musical comedy thriller FANGIRLS stays strong as the celebration of the power of female emotion, energy and enthusiasm remains important as society continues to need to shift views on the joyous devotion women of all ages display for strangers they see on stage and screen.

REVIEW: Claudia Osborne and Tasnim Hossain's Adaptation Of BURN, WITCH, BURN Explores Witchcraft To Leave It Even More Of A Mystery
July 12, 2022

FERVOUR and Red Line Productions have joined to present Claudia Osborne( Adaptor and Director) and Tasnim Hossain’s (Adaptor and Dramaturg) interpretation of Sidney Hayers BURN WITCH BURN (a movie originally released in 1962 as NIGHT OF THE EAGLE), a work in turn based on Fritz Leiber’s novel CONJURE WIFE.