Review Bonnie and Clyde, Wales Millennium Centre by Charlotte Hall

 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

‘Bonnie and Clyde’ is based on the American outlaw duo called Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. They were real life fugitives, in this production at The Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff, Clyde had always been running from the law, and believed that the only way you could be free was to steal it. Bonnie seemed like a textbook perfect student, but when she met Clyde, they fell intensely in love, and she never left his side after that, she even helped him break out of jail. Once he got out, they were casually robbing places like banks together, and to show how romanticised they were by the public, in the musical, when they were robbing a bank, a hostage asked for their autograph. The crime began to escalate and when a store owner got killed, they had to go on the run. After about two years, they had killed at least 13 people, and the authorities finally managed to track them down, and they were shot and killed, at 23 and 24 years of age.

I didn’t know any of this information prior to watching the performance, I had only heard of their names as being somewhat related to crime. The story was very easy to follow, and you didn’t need to know any backstory to understand what was going on, which is always a plus.

During the production, there were lights dotted on the walls to the side of the stage, and whenever there were ‘gunshots’, the lights would flash at various points and there was an accompanying sound effect. The musical starts with these gunshots and Bonnie and Clyde’s car where they found their demise, and I think showing what happens at the end is effective in this instance, because the story isn’t about trying to figure out what will happen to them, it’s about the journey and Bonnie and Clyde’s deep connection.

Even though the music isn’t pop music or widely known, it immediately grips you. The score consists of gospel, blues, ragtime, and country, which is quite a mixture, but it blends very well, and suits the genre of the musical. Also, the singing was absolutely phenomenal.

As a whole, the diction was clear considering the accents, and every single actor did their job justice, as they all played their characters incredibly well. I didn’t particularly feel for Bonnie and Clyde’s characters, and I don’t think you are supposed to completely empathise with them, but I didn’t want them to be killed by the authorities in the end, I was rooting for them to turn their lives around. As Buck (Clyde’s brother) was telling Blanche, no one is too far gone for you try and help. He was living proof of it, because his relationship with Blanche was always bringing him back to reality and moral ground. Unfortunately, in the end, his love and feeling of responsibility for his brother got him shot not long before Bonnie and Clyde got killed, and I was crying as Blanche was crying over his body, convinced that he would survive if they could get back home in time.

Each of the actors put on a brilliant performance, their singing was top notch, and the story and music was written/ composed also brilliantly. I love how you can write a story about anything and feel a sense of connection/ empathy for anyone, no matter how morally corrupt they are in the end. The only reason it doesn’t get 5 stars, is because I want my soul to be ripped out, and it didn’t quite do that for me, but I still enjoyed all parts of it and would choose to see it again.

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