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Friday, 24 October 2014

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Hoodlums, showgirls and dreamers arrive in town

A FLASHY world of hoodlums, showgirls and dreamers have arrived in Whitehaven.

Iconic musical Bugsy Malone is being performed by the talented members of Copeland Amateur Theatrical Society (CATS) at Whitehaven Civic Hall this week.

And it will be a special show for the Simpson family as four generations will take to the stage for the production; great grandma Elizabeth will perform a comic song, her daughter Ann is Fizzy, her grandson Chris is Knuckles, and great granddaughter Ellie plays a ventriloquist’s dummy.

A slapstick comedy, the show tells the rise of Bugsy Malone (played by established leading man Aron Armstrong), and the battle for power between Fat Sam (Gavin Dodd) and Dandy Dan (Ian Quirk).

Set in 1929 New York, the show captures a flashy world, featuring a colourful cast.

Main cast: Bugsy Malone, Aron Armstrong; Fat Sam, Gavin Dodd; Dandy Dan, Ian Quirk; Snake Eyes, Dale Corless; Bronx Charlie, Ryan Kelly; Knuckles, Chris Simpson; Ritzy, Alistair Jones; Doodle, Connor Reid; Louis, Todd Morgan; O’Dreary, Simon Armstrong; Captain Smolsky, Steven Brownbridge; Leroy, Craig Riley; Fizzy, Ann Simpson; Blousey Brown, Becky Hardman; Tallulah, Rebecca McDowell.

The show runs nightly at 7.15pm, with an additional matinée on Saturday, March 9 at 2.30pm.

Tickets are £8 for adults and £6 for children and concessions. A family of four ticket is available for £25.

They are available in person from the Civic Hall, on 01946 514960 or at www.civichall.org.

Review

WHITEHAVEN Civic Hall is the “happeningest place in town” this week as it’s transformed into world of gangsters, glamour and splurge guns.

It’s the one and only Bugsy Malone, a much-loved family tale of good and bad, shady deals and romance, being brought to life by the talented members of Copeland Amateur Theatrical Society (CATS).

Gang warfare has broken out in 1920s New York. Fat Sam’s gang are being splurged all over town by Dandy Dan’s men, and only Bugsy – played by charismatic leading man Aron Armstrong – can wade through the madness – and the cream pies – to bring peace to the city.

But nothing’s ever straight forward, and Bugsy has other things on his mind; trying to win the heart of Hollywood dreamer Blousey (Becky Hardman), while fending off the unwanted attentions of temptress Tallulah (Becca McDowell) along the way.

All involved deserve enormous credit for making the show the success that it was on Tuesday’s opening night. There’s a lot to it – a large cast, ambitious props (not least the splurge guns!) and a live orchestra – and it all comes together expertly.

Aron, as Bugsy, does a fine job of leading the line. As our main protagonist – and narrator – he holds the madness together with a cool head.

Becky Hardman gives an excellent turn as Blousey, filled with attitude and wisecracks up front, while harbouring dreams of a better life.

Fat Sam (Gavin Dodd) and Tallulah (Becca McDowell) bring a great deal to their roles in a duo not to be trifled with – and a fine bluesey singing voice from Becca.

Too many strong performances to mention – not least from the Simpson family who achieved the remarkable feat of having four generations involved in the production.

The music also hit the right note; the live orchestra always enhances a show at the Civic, and Bugsy was no exception – especially during the energetic Fat Sam Speakeasy scenes featuring the whole cast.

And all comes to a head for the show’s iconic finalé – You Give A Little Love – featuring more cream pies than you can imagine, sending the audience home happy and the cast to the dry-cleaners!

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