Review: Bugsy Malone at Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

Review: Bugsy Malone at Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

by Martin Brisland.

The world-famous musical Bugsy Malone is at the Mayflower this week as part of a national tour. It is the messiest gangster show ever and an unforgettable theatrical experience that is exuberant, ebullient and uplifting. Whilst many of the acting roles are taken on by young people and the violence and seediness of the times are toned down to cartoon levels there is a strong story behind all that.

The show is based on the hit 1976 movie by Alan Parker and is a modern musical classic. In the original film all the roles were played by child actors with an average age of 12. It launched the careers of Jodie Foster and Scott Baio and received eight BAFTA nominations and three Golden Globe nominations including Best Motion Picture for a Musical.

The show is packed with instantly recognisable songs from Oscar-winner Paul Williams including ‘My Name is Tallulah’, ‘You Give A Little Love’, ‘I Could Have Been Anything That I Wanted To Be’ and ‘Fat Sam’s Grand Slam’.

It is set in prohibition era New York, a city full of mobsters, showgirls and dreamers. Rival gangster bosses Fat Sam, played with a great New York accent by Charlie Burns, and Dandy Dan are at loggerheads. The custard pies are flying and Dandy Dan’s gang has gotten the upper hand since obtaining the new-fangled “splurge” gun.

Enter Bugsy Malone, a penniless failed boxer due to a ‘glass chin’ and all-round nice guy. Bugsy wants to take his girlfriend Blousy to Hollywood to fulfil her dreams of stardom and needs money fast. He is thrust into the gangster limelight when he becomes the last resort for Fat Sam after his gang is wiped out.

All Bugsy really wants to do is spend time with his new love, Blousey, played excellently by Avive Savannah William. Bugsy has to be able to resist seductive songstress Tallulah, Fat Sam’s moll and Bugsy’s old flame, and stay out of trouble long enough to help Fat Sam to defend his business.

Bugsy Malone is a joyous experience with a superb score and dazzlingly good staging. The energy radiating from the cast was amazing. A perfect theatre treat of pure fun for all the family.

It runs until Saturday 27th August and for tickets call 023 8071 1811 or visit

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