Subtle, old-school gangsterism meets comedy and music in what promises to be one of Victoria Park High School's (VPHS) most refreshing and interactive theatre experiences yet. Following the school's classical offering of Camelot in 2017, this year VPHS revives 1920 gangsterism from the dark streets of New York with comedy musical Bugsy Malone running from 7 - 11 May 2019.
"Bugsy Malone is extremely different in terms of the light-hearted comedic idea but the music is also the kind that lingers with you all the time and each of the characters are so entertaining" says drama teacher and show director Mariette van der Walt.
Based on the 1976 comedy musical directed and written by Alan Parker, the story sees two "gangs" squaring off in a casually gruesome rivalry which ironically sparks humor over violence. "Splurge guns" seem like the ultimate weapons for Dandy Dan and his crew as he gets an upper hand over Fat Sam's entourage. Pulled into the gang war, boxing promoter Bugsy Malone gets hired by Fat Sam as his last gamble for redemption. His charm and wit however gain him popularity from both opposing sides, including Fat Sam's trophy girl Tallulah. Bugsy on the other hand gets an unprecedented series of rejections from Blousy, who eventually becomes his girlfriend. This play is a master class which has headlined at many international theatres.
The VPHS show introduces Tuan Thalla as the suave Bugsy Malone, Ronan De Klerk as the loud and bossy Fat Sam and Zuive Franisi plays energetic Dandy Dan.
Zoe Gray & Sarah MacKenzie shine as Tallulah and Blousey respectively. Both have gained much experience on Port Elizabeth stages and also alternated as Guinevere in VPHS's Camelot in 2017.
Having started rehearsals in January, the 50 strong cast and band will re-enact the speakeasy format which is the original setting of the film, something which many adaptations have missed. According to Van der Walt traditional theatre seating will be complemented by 10-seater round tables which will be much closer to the stage, creating a more intimate experience with the audience. "The whole idea of audience interaction is so that the audience can feel that they are part of the speakeasy. During the production, Bugsy will be seen walking around the audience introducing himself, so the audience feels like they are at Fat Sam's place. Supper theatre works nicely, and a lot of people enjoy it rather than the formality of the theatre seating. Most shows don't lend themselves to supper theatre but this one does so perfectly," says Van der Walt. Patrons who have booked at tables are invited to bring their snacks and drinks to enjoy at the show.
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