Review: Bolsover Drama Group are bang on target with Bonnie and Clyde

Leanne Collins and Dale Shaw in Bonnie and Clyde, presented by Bolsover Drama Group
Leanne Collins and Dale Shaw in Bonnie and Clyde, presented by Bolsover Drama Group

Bonnie and Clyde may have bombed on Broadway but it’s going great guns in Bolsover this week.

It’s an American dream of a show, a shoot ‘em up adventure with a love story at its heart and fabulous songs.

Dale Shaw plays Clyde Barrow, the trigger-happy idealist inspired by Billy the Kid and Al Capone who escapes jail, goes on the rob and leaves a trail of bodies in his wake.

This is a great character part for Dale who puts his all into the role of the outlaw, the hold-up scenes are convincing as is the pain of having a bullet extracted from his body.

Leanne Collins puts in a lovely performance as his partner in crime, waitress Bonnie Parker, a ravishing redhead who dreams of getting her face in films and her poetry in magazines. This show is a perfect vehicle for Leanne to showcase her pretty voice in songs such as Dyin’ Ain’t So Bad and How ‘Bout A Dance.

The women outgun the men on the singing front. Leanne’s duet with Michelle Shaw, You Love Who You Love, is beautifully performed and the vocal highlight of the show.

Michelle gives the performance of her life as Blanche, the plain-speaking, church-goer who is married to impressionable criminal Buck. She puts heart and soul into the character and her solo Now That’s What You Call A Dream is delivered with great feeling, displaying a rare tenderness in hard-bitten Blanche.

James Sheppard plays her hubby, giving a convincing portrayal of a man torn between a wife who wants the escaped convict to give himself up and his brother who embroils him in deadly robberies to get their hands on the big bucks.

With six of the main characters starting out in the company’s youth section several years ago, it’s good to see a couple of the next generation of rising stars in this show. Madeleine Sutton sings sweetly and looks so pretty as young Bonnie while Jack Wilson captures the spirit of the hotshot farm boy Clyde.

Bible-belt America is highlighted in chapel scenes where chorus members wear cassocks and crosses and accompany the preacher (played by Geoff Smythe) in the lovely song God’s Arms Are Always Open.

The production ends on a high note with Bonnie and Clyde heading off in their car as the chorus reprise a couple of songs, while overhead projected images tell of the fate of America’s most famous outlaws at the time of the Depression.

As the curtains close, the sound of gunfire fills the air leaving the audience under no illusion just what happened to Bonnie and Clyde.

This is an undoubted hit for Bolsover Drama Group and especially Ray Hall who is directing a full-length show for the company for the first time.

It’s a bonus that this musical is rarely staged in the region as this production can only fire the interest of those who want to see something different.

Bonnie and Clyde continues its run at The Bolsover School until Saturday, October 10, at 7.15pm.