Experience a quirky take on racketeering and razzmatazz when the first ever touring production of Bugsy Malone stops off at Milton Keynes Theatre from Tuesday 11 October.
The musical, which is famous for casting youngsters in adult roles and turning gang violence into child’s play, is set in Prohibition-era New York. Mini mobsters and molls dodge flying custard pies and wield splurge guns that fire whipped cream in this all-singing, all-dancing gangster spoof.
Rival gangster bosses Fat Sam and Dandy Dan are at loggerheads, as per usual. Fat Sam’s hapless hoodlums are stuck throwing old-fashioned custard pies, while Dandy Dan’s motley crew has acquired the newfangled “splurge” gun. It looks like this might be game over for Fat Sam.
Enter Bugsy Malone, a penniless one-time boxer and all-round nice guy who grudgingly gets caught up in the shenanigans. All Bugsy really wants to do is spend time with his new love interest, Blousey. Will he be able to resist seductive songstress Tallulah, win Blousey’s trust and stay out of trouble long enough to help Fat Sam rebuild his empire?
The lead roles are being played by three teams of seven young performers, aged 9 to 15, in rotation. Bugsy Malone is played by Shaun Sharma, Gabriel Payne and Amar Blackman. Blousey Brown by Delilah Bennett-Cardy, Mia Lakha, and Avive Williams. Fat Sam by Isham Sankoh, Albie Snelson, and Charlie Burns. Tallulah by Fayth Ifil, Jasmine Sakyiama and Taziva-Faye Katsande. Fizzy by Elliott Arthur Mugume, Aidan Oti and Ellis Sutherland. Lena/Babyface by Kayla-Mai Alvares, Cherry Mitra and Ava Hope Smith. Dandy Dan by Kit Cranston, Desmond Cole and Rayhaan Kufuor-Gray.
These youngsters are joined by adult ensemble members Georgia Pemberton, Alisha Capon, Lucy Young, D’Mia Lindsay Walker, Jessica Daugrida, Alicia Ally, Alicia Belgarde, Esme Bacalla-Hayes, Luchia Moss, Kalifa Burton, Rory Fraser, Andilé Mabhena, Marcus Billany, Thomas Walton, Ru Fisher, Mohamed Bangura, Luke Mills and Will Lucas.
Bugsy Malone is based on the classic 1976 film by Alan Parker. It is directed by Sean Holmes, choreographed by Drew McOnie and designed by Jon Bausor. The creative team also includes Franny-Anne Rafferty (associate director), Phil Bateman (musical supervisor, arranger and orchestrator), Phil Gladwell (lighting designer), Ben Harrison (sound designer), Connagh Tonkinson (musical director), Leanne Pinder (associate choreographer), Verity Noughton (children’s casting director), Will Burton (adult’s casting director) and Susannah Peretz (wig designer).
The show is full of instantly recognisable songs, including ‘Fat Sam’s Grand Slam’, ‘My Name Is Tallulah’ and ‘You Give A Little Love’.
Devised with families in mind, Bugsy Malone promises memorable, messy, musical fun. Ready to surrender to the gangsters, glitz and gags? Splurge on tickets for the entire family!
Running time: Approximately 2 hours, including one interval.
*Production photography by Johan Persson.
Bugsy Malone is at Milton Keynes Theatre from Tuesday 11 to Saturday 15 October 2022. The UK tour continues until 19 February 2023.
This preview is also featured on Total MK.
Update 12 October 2022: Read my review of Bugsy Malone at Milton Keynes Theatre.
Georgina Butler is an editor, a dance writer and a ballet teacher.