Bugsy Malone - December 2014
It was all their Christmas wishes come true at once when the student cast of Bugsy Malone got to cover head teacher Chris Wade completely in white shaving foam.
But a bit of slapstick never hurt anyone – and this was hilarious.
Good sport Mr Wade also played the warm-up comedian by doing a take on airline cabin crew when pointing to the fire exit doors during his welcome at yet another sell-out evening for this fun gangster show.
Although it has been agreed beforehand that the young people could turn their splurge guns on Mr Wade in the finale no-one anticipated that he would be covered from head to foot in the frothy suds!
Directed by Meg Hitchings approximately 70 students aged from 11 to 18 years played the four nights at the Nailsea School theatre.
And their interpretation of the musical comedy set in Chicago in the 1920-30s during the prohibition was first rate fantastic.
This was a time when selling and serving alcohol was banned in the US and led to the proliferation of speakeasies - illegal drinking clubs.
With amazing acting, singing and dancing throughout there were also some stand-out performances and special mentions must go to Joel Knight as Bugsy Malone and Olivia Jones as Blousey.
Their diction and ability to stay in character was even better than child actors Scott Baio and Jodie Foster who made their names in the 1976 British award-winning film by Alan Parker.
If these two don’t end up on Broadway I’ll eat my trilby.
Tough guy Joel Knight never waivered in his American accent and bashful Olivia looked beautiful and sang beautifully.
Performing against a no frills blackout set with lots of prop changes apart from a little tottering by the girls climbing up and down two rungs of steep stairs in killer heels it all went without a hitch.
Everyone loved Tallulah played by Anna Richardson whose reputation is sealed as a star and full marks to her backing Grand Slam singers.
Whether watching boxers fist fighting, reporters taking notes or talking in the yellow telephone booth your eyes never left the action.
From down and out dancers to Chinese laundry workers everyone played their part.
The inept policemen were great and believable, the floor sweeper and foot tapper Fizzy played by Stan Richardson was superb especially the scene where he is shadowed by a solo contemporary ballerina.
American Italian nightclub boss Fat Sam Staccetto is played by Joel Rothwell who wears a checked suit and lives out his chequered lifestyle close to the edge.
The talented Mr Rothwell has grown into a fine young actor and is so comfortable on stage.
One parent said afterwards: “Joel as Bugsy was simply captivating.
“The pure voice of Olivia as Blousey was beautiful and little Stan as Fizzy was awesome.”
And another added: “Bugsy Malone the show was surprisingly good.
“I was amazed by the standard of the production from the set, to the calibre of the orchestra, to the effectiveness of the splurge guns.
“The acting, singing and dancing ability of the cast surpassed my expectations.
“And for me, Bugsy Malone, played by Joel Knight, stole the show.
“His comic timing, his American accent and his rapport with the audience was incredible.
“He is one to watch for the future.
“I can imagine his starring role as a Year 9 pupil will be mentioned on Jonathan Ross-style television chat show when he becomes a famous Hollywood star.“
When you consider that some of its 'professional' performers were out playing roles in panto it gives you a little idea of huge talent bank at Nailsea School.
All the mobsters and molls were good at being bad as were the undertakers who removed the many ‘bodies’ with the minimum of fuss and maximum of muscle.
Alex George as Dandy Dan brought just enough wicked menace with his pencil thin moustache and towering presence and we all loved You Give A Little Love community singing when the curtain finally came down to rapturous applause.
School president Ashleigh Westgate who plays Louella has been in every performance from her first year at Nailsea School to this her final show as a sixth former.
She gave a rousing and articulate farewell speech thanking everyone who played their part, both front of house and backstage, including the marvellous orchestra and hardworking teachers Lynda Perkins and Natalie Macleod as musical directors.