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  • Writer's pictureLisa in the theatre

REVIEW: Bugsy Malone The Musical (UK Tour) [Musical Theatre, Glasgow]

Updated: Sep 20, 2023

Theatre Royal, Glasgow

6 September 2022


Bugsy Malone, that well known 70's film full of talented kids, launched the careers of Scott Baio and Jodie Foster (I also fondly remember turns from Dexter Fletcher and Bonnie Langford).

This is the first time that the stage show has toured the UK and I think it's a bold, brave risk by the producers. As with the film, this show's lead roles are ALL played by young child actors. What challenges that must bring.

For a start, curtain up was at 7pm rather than the standard 7:30. A good portion of the audience were late, but were quietly ushered to seats at the back by the brilliant FOH team.

Credit: Production

There is a rotation of 3 groups of 7 'unders' on the tour; the kids playing the lead roles. On opening night in Glasgow we had The Doodles. I walked past as they were going in stage door. I couldn't believe how tiny they were! Their parents must be so proud.

All did a great job but the stand out performance was from Gabriel Payne as Bugsy. He was incredible! Gabriel has a performing CV that any adult actor would be proud of. He has already played Gavroche in Les Mis, Michael Banks in Mary Poppins as well as roles in other top shows in the West End, plus some film and TV credits. This kid is destined for big things and he can count me as a fan.

Credit: Production

The 'unders' are supported by a professional ensemble adult cast who are magnificent. Triple threats all round and they each play a number of key roles throughout the production.

The show is set in prohibition era New York and tells the story of rival gangster bosses Fat Sam, Dandy Dan and their lackies. There are shots from splurge guns and custard pies flying everywhere. I hope for Wardrobe's sake the costumes are wipe clean!

The songs are instantly recognisable from the film: I particularly enjoyed the opening number 'Fat Sam's', 'Bad Guys' and 'Down & Out' - my favourites from the film.

It's a triumph. Congrats to everyone involved!!

[Review first posted on Instagram 16 September 2022]

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