Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Bugsy Malone -Review- Whitley Bay Playhouse

Bugsy Malone
Whitley Bay Playhouse.
2 Nov 2010.
Day8 Productions.

One of my all time favourite films is the 1976 production of Bugsy Malone, so I jumped at the chance of reviewing this amateur stageplay at the Whitley Bay Playhouse.
Gun totting crime is prevalent in today’s society and not a subject that should be glorified, but a lot of fun can be got out of it. Kids with splurge guns that substitute bullets for cream and custard pies in the faces for good measure is the entertainment on offer.
Bugsy Malone is an up and coming gangster stuck in the war between his boss Fat Sam and rival Dandy Dan. When Bugsy meets wannabe film actress Blousey Brown at Sam’s bar they are both smitten, but a raid by Sam’s conflicting enemy means war and a messy one at that. Dandy Dan is using the newly invented splurge gun to ‘kill’ off his foes and he desperately wants to over take Sam’s empire, but that would mean Bugsy being out of a job, or at worst splurged.
Will Bugsy get his dream girl? Will the splurging mean the end to all empires? Will the front row of the audience come out of this clean?

Bugsy played by Cameron Swan was the star of the show and really acted his socks off, his four years at stage school has really paid off. The entire cast of under 16’s really performed well. The glittering finale is well worth the entrance fee alone.
The multi roomed layout of the stage was well designed and looked really professional.
The cast though were however let down by some shoddy production. Mic levels were not universal, at stages I was straining to hear what was going on with some of the characters. Some bad pregnant pauses also hampered the flow of the play. This I am sure isn’t Day8 at their best, maybe the first night nerves were set aside for the production team.
I think I will settle down tonight with Jodie Foster and relive how the professionals have done it.

Bugsy Malone is performed at 7.15pm & Sat at 2.15pm, until November 6th, Tickets are priced at £12 & £10 (under 16’s)
Michael Hunter
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  1. i think some of your comments are unfair.'Mic levels were not universal' having a 40 strong cast and only ten radio mics you cannot take an 'all or nothing' approach with micing people up and have to be careful which characters to follow. this leads to different characters having different strengths of voices thus leading to so impractical levels, and also uneven levels were due to inconsistency in the actors dialogue at times. lots of mic changes went on backstage, some stupidly quick at times. this also leads to some bad placements of mics on the charcters and at times was a bit awkward as pushing the limits would only achieve feedback.
    'I was straining to hear what was going on with some of the characters' with a production like this its hard to place anything on stage, mics included, as the amount of splurge destroys everything. hanging mics caught the chorus, but with a powerful underscore there is nothing else to do other than pray for a touch more projection and wish that you had more channels of radiomics to play with.

    and comparing a theatre show to a movie. really? of course they are more professional. also more organised and have the benefits including recutting scenes and dubbing. not in theatre!

  2. I certainly took into consideration that this was an amateur theatre show, knowing full well that all of the cast couldn't be mic'd up. You are selling this to the public and it just didn't come over very good in parts, it wasn't just me that noticed it but others in the audience too. It is these people that you need to win over for your future productions.
    I know next to nothing about running things behind the stage, so I appreciate your detailed explanation, but I can only report on what I see.
    I didn't have space in my review to mention the affect on the audience when characters went off stage and some mic's weren't switched off for a period of time. This led to confusion and also contributed to the lack of flow that I mentioned.

    I certainly didn't compare the professional movie with your amateur production, why would I? that would certainly be unfair on yourselves and the money paying public.


  3. u must go and see london suite at the little theatre gateshead its fab

  4. I would have loved too, but had too much on...are you from the Theatre itself..??