When they announced that Bonnie & Clyde was hitting Theater Royal Drury Lane and that the musical theater icon that is Jeremy Jordan was going to reprise his role as Clyde from the Broadway production I was one of those people that was sat buying tickets who managed to sell out the performance in 6 minutes! I had a feeling it was going to be special so there was incredibly high expectations.
It may come as no surprise to say that the concert was everything I had hoped it would be and more. The story of Bonnie & Clyde focus on the meeting of infamous pair through to the inevitable shoot out that ended in their death. The score by Frank Wildhorn features some iconic musical theater numbers including Bonnie’s Act 2 song, ‘Dyin’ Ain’t So Bad.’
One word could sum up this cast and that is phenomenal. The aforementioned Jeremy Jordan was Clyde and his voice left me awestruck and it was just as perfect as it is on the original cast recording. He has the perfect amount of charisma and swagger for this role and you easily understood how Bonnie fell for him despite his criminal tendencies. Frances Mayli McCann played Bonnie and she was the ideal Bonnie to Jordan’s Clyde. She perfectly captured Bonnie’s grit and determination gaining admiration from the audience whilst still managing to seem wide eyed and innocent. Her rendition of Dyin’ Ain’t So Bad was beautifully poignant and really drove home the meaning of the song for the first time for me.
With such incredible leads there was always a danger that the rest of the cast could fade into the background, well Natalie McQueen as Blanche made sure that was an impossibility. McQueen is a brilliantly versatile actress but in Blache she really got to show off her comedy skills and had me laughing out loud throughout the show. Trevor Dion Nicholas was the Preacher and his appearances, although sparse, were high energy and utterly fun. The rest of the cast were of the highest standard and the number ‘God’s Arms Are Always Open’ featuring a large portion of the cast was memorable due to the impact they all made on stage together.
Whilst the show was billed as a concert I would have described it more as semi-staged and in fact at some moments fully realised and choregraphed. The set, designed by Philip Whitcomb, was made of what looked like levels of wooden pallets and full use was made of each level for various numbers and settings. The lighting design by Zoe Spurr enhanced the set wonderfully, not only helping intimate moments feel just that, despite the huge stage but also combined with a precise sound design enhancing moments of drama such as shoot out.
Finally I must mention the 9 piece orchestra under the direction of Katy Richardson. This is a cast recording that I have played to death and this orchestra was spot on. Combined with a spot on sound design by Tom Marshall the mix was beautifully done.
Bonnie & Clyde sets the bar almost unreachably high for the rest of the concerts I have booked for this year, combine interesting source material with a stunning score, add in a cast that I could listen to sing the score on repeat and sprinkle on top imaginative and emotive direction then you get this production of Bonnie & Clyde.
Bonnie & Clyde was a limited run at the Theater Royal Drury Lane although keep your eyes peeled for a cinema or streaming release and a fully staged show at the Arts Theater from April onwards. If you are looking for something similar coming up at the Palladium is Taboo and Camelot in concert which I’m also very excited about!
If you like this review you might also like my review of The Jersey Boys, Six and Dear Evan Hansen.