Bugsy Malone, Norwich

JOHN LAWSON A“cast of thousands” and enough goo and custard pies to sink a battleship. It could only be Bugsy Malone, the spoof gangster musical created especially for a stageful of kids.

JOHN LAWSON

A“cast of thousands” and enough goo and custard pies to sink a battleship.

It could only be Bugsy Malone, the spoof gangster musical created especially for a stageful of kids.

The show at the Maddermarket gives everyone the chance to shine, as singers, dancers or actors, with dozens of little cameos.

Narrating the action is our hero Bugsy (William Cannel-Smith), who is being fought over by club singers Blousy (Emma Roberts) and Tallulah (Louisa Theobald).

Meanwhile, everyone else is trying to avoid being splurged to death as Dandy Dan (a laid-back super-cool Luca Ferrari) and Fat Sam (the over-the-top James Timbrell) fight for control.

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The audience loved the big production numbers when the entire company of about 70, aged six to 18, packed the stage. But the highlights for me were the acting of Louisa Theobald and the singing of Emma Roberts, whose solo number Ordinary Fool – a tricky number packed with minor chords and awkward key changes – was beautifully done.

The action was supported by an eight-piece jazz band to die for – full of the exuberance and drive which the episodic plot lacked.

The series of short scenes meant atmosphere and pace was often lost, not helped by rather dull lighting.

But the young actors had a ball.

t A new cast moved in for the second performance.

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