Performed during 1992
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Reviewed by Donald Madgwick for The Croydon Advertiser
"Gang Warfare in Coulsdon! Many Slain at Youth and Social Centre!"
Relax, for the headlines are as spoof as Bugsy Malone, the stage version of that offbeat film wherein rival gangs fight it out with splurge guns, scores are settled with custard pies and the molls imbibe only soft drinks.
The Theatre Workshop production is not played with young shildren, as was the film, though two 15-year-old girls are the stars of an enjoyable show.
Michael Brown directs with tongue securely in cheek; Mark Taylor is the accomplished pianist; and the company put the songs across with real style, especially the closing chorus, which sends the audience out on a happy note.
Although there are moments of slackness, one can only admire the generally high level of commitment. Innocent fun is the keynote. The audition scene made me laugh out loud, as did Chris Argles and Tim Young as the bungling cops. The wisecracking dialogue ("Keep your jokes behind your teeth") is handled with skill and verve.
Philip Gunstone is the amiable, soft-hearted Bugsy himself, and the rival gang leaders are played by Nathan Moughtin and Robert Del Toro, the latter amusingly barking out his frenzied orders to Glen Keary as his side-kick Knuckles.
And those two youthful stars? They are Rachel Handler and Kimberley Argles, as the molls Blousey and Tallulah. Both of them display genuine talent, especially in the singing department, and have impressive stage presence. Kimberley's rendition of the wistful An Ordinary Girl is one of the best things in a lively show.
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