Bugsy Malone

Previewed 11 April 2015, Opened 28 April 2015, Closed 5 September 2015, returned
Previewed 11 June 2016, Opened 24 June 2016, Closed 4 September 2016 at the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith in London

Back by public demand! A major revival of Alan Parkerís musical Bugsy Malone in London for a strictly limited season. It's the messiest show in town!

A spoof 1920s musical set in Prohibition New York - in a world of splurge-gun toting gangsters, show-girls and dreamers. Join Fat Sam, who runs one of the most popular speakeasies in town, as he fights to stop his 'business rival' Dandy Dan from closing his speakeasy down. Enter baby-faced Bugsy Malone, a killer with the ladies and a definite asset to Fat Sam. Unfortunately, Bugsy has also caught the eye of Sam's girlfriend Tallulah - though he's set his designs on the showgirl Blousey Brown.

Based on Alan Parker's acclaimed film of the same name and featuring music and lyrics by Paul Williams, this stage production is directed by Sean Holmes with choreography by Drew McOnie, designs by Jon Bausor, lighting by James Farncombe and sound by Ben Harrison. Return of the production that was seen here at the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith last year (previewed from 11 April 2015, opened on 28 April 2015 and closed on 5 September 2015).

When this production returned here to the Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith for a second season in June 2016, Fiona Mountford in The London Evening Standard wrote that "everyone agreed last year, on the first outing of Sean Holmes's wonderful revival of Sir Alan Parkerís hit film musical, that this production of Bugsy Malone was a treat. It's the same all over again now, as a vivacious and talented group of young performers bewitch us with their jazz hands and splurge guns," adding that "this delightful show deserves enthusiastic audiences of all ages." Claire Allfree in The Daily Telegraph said that the production is "triumphantly back for a 12-week run... Sean Holmes's show can't beat the original film for casting but he has mined a dazzling seam of youthful talent for his three rotating casts nonetheless... this has the mark of all great musicals: that alchemical ability of being able to take you out of your life and transport you, just for a couple of hours, to somewhere completely glorious." Kate Maltby in The Times commented that the "precocious performers are earnest rather than polished, cute but never cutesy. And for all the luscious production values, this Bugsy Malone retains the joyous collectivity of a village barn dance... gloriously good, clean fun."

When this production opened at the Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith London in April 2015, Michael Billington in the Guardian highlighted that "it is all staged by Sean Holmes with great elan, the cast is highly talented, and the audience went wild with delight. The Lyric clearly has a hit on its hands... The good thing about the show is that, aided by Jon Bausorís design, it has a vaudevillian bounce denied to Alan Parker's movie." Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard hailed it as being a "a joyous show," adding that "Jon Bausorís elegant costumes and simple set allow the action to be as fluent as possible. The sharp choreography is by Drew McOnie, whose most athletic number, So You Wanna Be A Boxer, is a knockout." Dominic Maxwell in the Times wrote that "after two years and a £20 million redevelopment, the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith has reopened with this whomping big crowd-pleasing hit performed entirely by young people... Yet the gifted cast in Sean Holmes's propulsive and assured production makes these Depression-era song-and-dance showdowns into something thoroughly uplifting." Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph said that there's "no beating about Shepherd's Bush, this Hammersmith Bugsy Malone's a blast - a triumphant return for the stage version of Alan Parker's adored 1976 film-musical... the show delivers the goods with knock-out force." Patrick Marmion in the Daily Mail praised the "terrific, zestful staging," explaining that "Sean Holmes' punchy production is feisty and subtle throughout, from its splurge gun shoot-outs to the secret kisses dispensed on fingertips. Drew McOnie's choreography is driven by the groove and swagger of Paul Williams' seventies score and gives real dynamism to the show." Neil Norman in the Daily Express commented that "Alan Parker's child-friendly gangster movie has been staged several times but never, I'll warrant, as successfully as Sean Holmes' production for the newly refurbished Lyric Theatre." Sarah Hemming in the Financial Times noted how the staging is "beautifully pitched and it sets the tone for this joyous, dazzlingly good staging of the kids-as-gangsters, pastiche musical... [Sean Holmes'] his young company vindicates his trust, turning up trumps with a show that is droll, dynamic and revels in the sheer delight of play-acting."

Sean Holmes is the Artistic Director of the newly re-opened Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith. His London directing credits include Ken Ludwig's stage adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's novel Treasure Island starring Keith Allen as 'Long John Silver' at the Haymarket Theatre in 2008, John Osborne's The Entertainer starring Robert Lindsay and Pam Ferris at the Old Vic Theatre in 2007 and Arthur Miller's The Price starring Warren Mitchell and Larry Lamb at the Apollo Theatre in 2003. He also co-directed Ghost Stories along with the show's authors Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman, at the Duke of York's Theatre in 2010 and at the Arts Theatre in 2014.

"In Sean Holmes' exuberant, ebullient, uplifting show, the littlest people perform the biggest roles as sequined mini-molls and pinstriped, pint-sized mobsters. Three sets of eight to 16s alternate in the roles, supported by a strong song-and-dance ensemble of ancient up-to-22-year-olds. There's not a name among them, but every one is a star... of course it helps that one arrives knowing and loving Paul Williams' fabulous songs. The youngsters here deliver them with tremendous poise and polish... The guniights are a triumph, with what looks like strawberry Angel Delight expertly splurged all over." The Mail on Sunday

"There is - rightly ó a lot of love out there for Alan Parker's 1976 musical movie pastiche of Depression-era gangsters and molls. So it is a smart choice to reopen this theatre after an impressive £20m redevelopment. Goodwill radiates from the audience, but the fact that this show triumphs is down to Sean Holmes's infectiously joyous staging, which invites you into Fat Sam's speakeasy." The Sunday Times

"Alan Parker says that he has 'actively discouraged professional productions' of his 1976 film. Not surprisingly. The idea of making a musical about gangland Chicago during Prohibition and casting it with kids who destroy faces with cream buns rather than bullets was always audacious. A dimpled, kiss-curl rendering of these gangsterettes would be not only cutesey but creepy. The show, a punchy tribute and take-off of the Broadway musicals, deserves better. It has a tip-top score and incisive dialogue by Paul Williams. Sean Holmes' production does it proud... Success is not a matter of knock-out individuals. It comes from the big sweep of Drew McOnieís choreography, featuring an especially smashing boxing sequence. And from continual smart touches. The gleaming, foot-pedalled car; the oversized evening gloves on skinny arms." The Observer

Bugsy Malone in London at the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith previewed from 11 April 2015, opened on 28 April 2015 and closed on 5 September 2015 - returned: previewed from 11 June 2016, opened 24 June 2016 and closed on 4 September 2016.


Bugsy Malone 1997

Previewed 15 November 1997, Opened 19 November 1997, Closed 17 January 1998 at the Queen's Theatre in London

A major revival of the stage musical Bugsy Malone in London presented by the National Youth Music Theatre.

Adapted from the film by Alan Parker and zestfully played and danced to the hilt by the National Youth Music Theatre - all aged sixteen and under - this musical promises a festive fun packed fiesta of singin', dancin' and splurgin'! The original film was a box office smash the world over, starring Jodie Foster and Scott Baio and making classics of songs such as 'My Name Is Tallulah', 'Bad Guys' and 'So You Wanna Be A Boxer'.

Performances are shared between two entire casts and orchestras. Adapted from the film by Alan Parker, with songs by Paul Williams, directed and choreographed by Russell Labey and Jeremy James Taylor.

"Bravely venturing into grown-ups' territory at the Queen's Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue, the National Youth Music Theatre presents a spirited version of the all-kids musical Bugsy Malone. Alan Parker's story of the 1920s gangsterdom, where the dreaded splurge gun threatens to eliminate Bugsy, Fat Sam, and the other good guys and dolls, was a wonderful movie. Here the show, with Paul William having added to the original score, is understandably a little ragged, but so full of life it is irresistible. The performers, all 16 or under, sparkle." The News of the World

"As we move through the phoney facade of the book emporium into the speakeasy, it brims with Prohibition life. In this spoof tale of mob warfare, in which the gangsters fire splurge guns filled with non-toxic foam and the radio announcer 'interrupts this interruption' to bring us the latest tally of stiffs, it's a pleasure to see youngsters who can do nonchalance and tap. Too often in the West End, child actors give us high-pitched sincerity or spoilt-brat whining. But here... they achieve a laid-back cool." The Independent on Sunday

"The National Youth Music Theatre has taken a high risk by putting its young, amateur performers into the professional frame of the West End, and it should pay off. This revival of the stage version of Alan Parker's 1975 musical pastiche of American gangster movies is the perfect vehicle, since the premise is that kids are playing at being adults - and to do that, you have to have kids... The evening works best, and the cast are happiest, in the big chorus numbers, where the directors, Russell Labey and Jeremy James Taylor, have put in sufficient detail not to give the impression that the children have been drilled to within an inch of their lives." The Sunday Times

Bugsy Malone in London at the Queen's Theatre previewed from 15 November 1997, opened on 19 November 1997 and closed on 17 January 1998.


Bugsy Malone 1983

Previewed 16 May 1983, Opened 26 May 1983, Closed 11 February 1984 at Her Majesty's Theatre in London

Based on the film by Alan Parker, adapted and directed by Micky Dolenz with songs by Paul Williams, choreography by Gillian Gregory, sets by Ralph Koltai, costumes by Annena Stubbs and lighting by Joe Davis.

"Apart from the addition of a couple of musical numbers, nothing has changed between screen and stage, and for those who have seen the film the only disappointment will be knowing the story - and something ex-Monkees director Micky Dolenz could have avoided if he had made this more of a sequel to the original plot. It also means that the show has all the jerky cuts of the film slowing it down. But aside from these two minor drawbacks, this has got to be the greatest show on short legs. There was nothing but two hours of sheer professionalism on that stage, even bearing in mind the fact that a cast with an average age of 13 gets a round of applause just for sneezing. The slick and perfectly drilled chorus-line can switch from the can-can one minute to a Fred Astaire routine the next without a single shoelace out of place." The Daily Express

"Anyone who remembers the film as witty may be interested to see how flat, in this show, pseudo-wisecracks fall without adult expertise ('Blousie Brown?' asks the hero. 'Sounds like a stale loaf of bread.') And how can a performance flower when its solo numbers are being sung by someone stuck in a closed stage-box and listed at the bottom of page 18 of the programme? The kids are mostly very small, regardless of age, which gradually robs the struggle of Fat Sam's food guys against the dreaded spurge gun that constitutes Dandy Dan's secret weapon, of any connection it may once have had with gangland massacres, and reduces the final shoot-out with custard pies and pistol-fired streamers to the level of a Christmas party. The story amounts to little and unfortunately includes a villains' car chase which no stage production could adequately mount." The Times

"It could persuasively be claimed that this show exploits children, but it is more to the point that it exploits audiences. It is not even true to its own lousy convention: the kids do all the dancing and talking, but the singing is entrusted to half-a-dozen off-stage adults. The children, miming to their large ill-fitting voices, are reduced to marionettes. The other grown-ups have worked rather well. Paul Williams has composed a competent bunch of songs. Micky Dolenz, surmounting what must have been fearful logistical problems, has directed spectacularly. Gillian Gregory has put her pubescent chorus line through some high-class low-down routines... Also working hard was a first-night audience of Mrs Worthingtons, augmented by some rejected but still hopeful little Worthingtons. They raised the roof." The Observer

Bugsy Malone in London at Her Majesty's Theatre previewed from 16 May 1983, opened on 26 May 1983 and closed on 11 February 1984.