Drama: Audiences Wowed by Year 8's 'Bugsy Malone'

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On four balmy days at the very end of the Summer Term, the Year 8 Leavers performed the very popular British stage musical, Bugsy Malone, to packed audiences who were transported back to the snappy dressing, Charleston dancing, swinging ganglands of 1920s New York.

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The musical tells the story of Bugsy, a penniless boxing promoter, who becomes smitten with an aspiring singer called Blousey when she auditions at Fat Sam's Speakeasy.

Along the way, he becomes involved in the deadly rivalry between the gangs of Fat Sam and Dandy Dan.

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Despite being distracted by Tallulah, Fat Sam's girl, and getting dangerously involved in Sam's efforts to thwart Dandy Dan's takeover, Bugsy and Blousey are reunited at the end and the audience were treated to a rip-roaring final musical number. Cue lots of singing, dancing, romance, double-cross and gunplay - not with normal weapons, but with splurge guns that fired white foamy liquid!

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The gang members - complete with characters such as Knuckles, Snake Eyes, Laughing Boy and Bronx Charlie - brought a great mix of humour and menace to their scenes. This, along with some very amusing dialogue between the incompetent cops, Captain Smolsky and his side-kick O'Dreary, meant that the audiences were held on the edge of their seats until the final curtain.

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I am immensely proud of the quality of this production and the commitment and enthusiasm of the Year 8 students involved in the performances. Given the exceptional talent I witnessed on stage, I have no doubt that, for some of the children, a career in the performing arts is a very realistic ambition.

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During the performances, Tom McGovern and Jaz Wardle were perfect as the 'cheeky chappy' Bugsy. They were ably supported by the fabulous Ben Peppard and Harry Hodierne as Fat Sam and the wonderful Floyd Doubtfire and Tom Gordon as Dandy Dan.

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Elsewhere, Lauren Bennett and Fransina Beumee both played the delicious diva Tallulah with style and sass and Joeley Gibson and Imogen Lock likewise were great as the sweet and innocent, yet wise-cracking, Blousey.

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Special mention must also go to Anastasia Barber-Ruckstuhl and Hannah Pearce who played Fizzy, Max Campbell and Jacob Liebenberg as sidekick Knuckles, and the talented trio of David Macario-Jones, Toby Sammarco and Charlie Kingsbury-Fitch who ably took on the parts of the dozy Captain Smolsky and his hapless crime-busting partner O'Dreary.

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It is not, however, possible to review everyone individually and the whole cast must be congratulated on their amazing professionalism and extremely high standard of performance; they pulled out all the stops with this all-singing, all-dancing show that captured the spark and rivalry of downtown New York in the early 20's.

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Bugsy Malone had bags of energy and charisma and was a great example of how Bede's can help children to explore and develop their talents to great effect.

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We are very grateful to all of those whose hard work made it such a success but special thanks must go to Mrs Louise Mizon for going that extra mile in helping to choreograph, costume and prepare the whole cast.

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The children and staff worked tirelessly to bring this production to the stage and the show brought smiles to everyone's faces - an achievement certainly worth celebrating!

Gail Brundle

Head of English and Drama