Bugsy Malone At Belgrade Theatre, Coventry Review


Reviewed by Liz Squires

Bugsy Malone could have been anything he wanted to be, there was no doubt about it. But he and his show were exactly what I wanted it to be and more. The expectation for the well-loved, classic, production, was high and I was filled with anticipation as my family, and I walked into the theatre. Bugsy Malone is a story of love, aspiration, mobsters and show business.

Set in late 1920’s New York the rift between Fat Sam (Charlie Burns) and Dandy Dan (Rayhaan Kufuor-Gray) increases by the day. Tensions boil to a head as Dandy Dan brings new splurge guns to the fight and Fat Sam needs to think fast to save his empire but more importantly his reputation. With his goons at his side Fat Sam embarks on a mission to even the playing field with Dandy Dan, but his efforts take an unexpected turn when there’s a double cross! Alongside the mobster scenes that include an extraordinary, awe-inspiring performance of “Bad Guys” and “So you want to be a boxer” there is the love story of Bugsy Malone (Amar Blackman) and Blousy (Avive Williams). Blousy is soft, genteel and an all-round girl next door, who is on a mission to be a Hollywood star and her journey takes her to Fat Sam’s Grand Slam where she meets Bugsy and the notorious Tallulah (Taziva-Faye Katsande). Taziva-Fayes performance of her solo number “my name is Tallulah” was exceptional and is really considerably better than the original Jodie Foster performance in the film.

We must not forget the iconic “get BabyFace” scene that was so fabulously executed and delivered by possibly the smallest and youngest member of that cast who was just adorable and clearly a firecracker in her own right, executing her roles as Lena and Babyface, Ava Hope Smith did a phenomenal job at winning the audiences heart immediately. In addition to Blousy there is a third smaller but equally ambitious storyline or Fizzy (Ellis Sutherland) who is destined to be a dancer and Fat Sam continues to ask him to “come back tomorrow” but for Fizzy tomorrow never comes and his efforts and talents go unrecognised.

Charlie Burns delivered the performance of the show, he was hilarious, sweet, had the audience captivated from the offset and his Italian-American accent was to die for.

Amar Blackman was a perfect fit for Bugsy, he captured his original character well and added his own wonderful twist and character to his portrayal of Bugsy.

Keep your eyes peeled for these up and coming stars on our screens and stages. the talent in this team is endless. Sky’s the limit you guys. An outstanding performance.

In short the show was a complete success, I haven’t smiled from ear to ear like a Cheshire cat for an incredibly long time. There’s always a level of apprehension when you see a west end version of a movie you have grown up with, but this absolutely did not disappoint. It surpassed every expectation I had and apprehension disappeared within the first 30 seconds of curtain up.

The setting was stunning, adaptable and interchangeable, the pedal car was always going to be a must in this production and the entire scene surrounding it was incredible, costumes were vibrant, captivating and so well made. The choreography was second to none and you could tell the entire cast of children aged between (I would say) 8 and 17 had worked incredibly hard to make it as perfect as possible.

This has by far been the easiest review I have had to write to date and I highly recommend anyone going to see this production.

It is always a great pleasure to visit the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry. It is a quaint and intimate setting, the toilets are always well maintained, the staff are friendly and helpful. They are always welcoming and warm and I always love visiting the venue. Ice cream were medium sized pots 3 for £10.20.

My favourite part of the Belgrade is that you never know who is in the audience, so it was a delight and a pleasure to meet XXXX’s mum XXXX in the audience alongside XXXX’s Grandma whose birthday it was. Many Happy returns for the day to XXXX’s Grandma. (editor’s note – names removed) 

WARNING: There is a scene with strobe lighting – I would not recommend this show for people with photosensitive epilepsy.

Rating: 5/5

Show can be seen at:
Belgrade Theatre,
Belgrade Square,
Coventry, CV1 1GS.
Between 13th September and 18th September 2022.

Tickets can be purchase from £15 (plus any fees), from or by calling the box office on 02476553055

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