Hapless hoodlums took over Belfast’s Grand Opera House this week as the cast of the youth summer project Bugsy Malone took to the stage.
Music and laughter filled the theatre as the audience revelled in this fantastic production of the smash hit musical, which first captivated fans on screen in the 1970s.
Bugsy Malone, a shady but loveable character who ‘does this and that’ to make ends meet, was played to perfection by Robbie McMinn. With a flawless accent and a captivating performance, he brought humour and gravitas to the titular role and it is difficult to believe he is just 13 years of age.
Bugsy’s heart was stolen by Blousy Brown, a determined young starlet eager to see her name in lights.
Played by Caroline McMichael, she had the beautiful songbird voice her character dreamt of and her extensive training in musical theatre, music and dance is evident in her portrayal of one of show’s leading ladies.
With pitch perfect vocals, this 13 year old surely has a career ahead of her on the West End stage.
With help from Bugsy, Blousy gets her big break at Fat Sam’s Grand Slam Speakeasy. But the pair soon get caught up in a gangland feud as Fat Sam, played wonderfully by Fionntan MacGiolla Cheara, and his inept crew take on rival mobster Dandy Dan, whose performance once again far exceeded anything you would expect from a 12 year old.
It must have been a challenge for Jasmine Mirfield to live up to the Oscar winner Jodie Foster, who first brought the mesmerising showgirl Tallulah to life in the 1976 film. But Jasmine certainly met that challenge head on, leaving no one in any doubt that she had the confidence and talent to pull off the role.
There wasn’t a single weak moment in the entire show, from the set design to the sparkling costumes, everything worked together to bring the glitz and glamour of the Art Deco age to the stage.
The talent and professionalism on display belies the tender age of the cast. Director Tony Finnegan and MD Wilson Shields certainly brought out the best in the young actors.
Special mention must also go to choreographer Rebecca Leonard for her fabulous work with the chorus. A particular highlight of the show was undoubtedly the carefully staged fight scene during the popular number ‘Bad Guys’, and, of course, the toe tapping finale ‘Give Little Love’.
Without question the entire cast and crew were deserving of the standing ovation the audience were keen to provide at the end of the show and I defy anyone to leave and not be humming the catchy songs for the rest of the night.
Bugsy Malone runs at the Grand Opera House until Saturday August 3 and you won’t want to miss this first class production.
Tickets are on sale from the Box Office on 028 9024 1919 and online at www.goh.co.uk