REVIEW: Bonnie and Clyde – Theatre Royal – Nottingham


Bonnie and Clyde, the legendary duo whose names became synonymous with crime and passion, have roared into Nottingham’s Theatre Royal with all the pomp and swagger that captivated audiences in the West End. This electrifying production, boasting a talented cast and creative team, delivers a whirlwind of love, adventure, and tragedy that keeps audiences on the edge of their seats from start to finish.

At the heart of the production is Clyde, brought to life by the magnetic Alex James-Hatton. His portrayal is nothing short of outstanding, capturing Clyde’s complex blend of charm, recklessness, and undeniable charisma. From his swaggering confidence to his moments of vulnerability, James-Hatton’s performance is a tour de force that anchors the entire production.

Opposite Clyde is the fiery Bonnie Parker, portrayed with equal parts strength and vulnerability by Katie Tonkinson. Tonkinson commands the stage with her powerful vocals and raw emotion, embodying Bonnie’s fierce determination and yearning for something more than the small-town life she’s known. Daisy Wood-Davis shines as Blanche Barrow, bringing depth and complexity to the role of Clyde’s questioning sister-in-law. Her portrayal balances Blanche’s loyalty to her husband Buck with her growing disillusionment with the criminal lifestyle they’ve embraced. Together, their voices are nothing short of sublime.

In his scenes, Jaz Ellington steals the show as The Preacher, delivering a vocal performance that is breathtaking. His rich, soulful voice fills the theatre, adding a haunting depth to the production’s score and elevating every scene he’s in.

While the principal cast members deliver stellar performances, some minor issues with accents occasionally detract from the immersion of the production. However, these moments are fleeting, and the overall impact of the performances remains powerful and engaging.

The staging of Bonnie and Clyde is simple yet effective, utilising a consistent set and some key props to evoke the atmosphere of Depression-era America. Projection is used cleverly to enhance the storytelling, transporting audiences from doorsteps to hideouts with ease.

Frank Wildhorn’s score is a highlight of the production, filled with soaring melodies and poignant lyrics that capture the essence of Bonnie and Clyde’s tumultuous romance. The score is rich and offers great character development and some addictive earworms. However, there are moments where the balance between the band and vocals feels slightly off, with the music occasionally overpowering the singers.

Despite these minor technical issues, Bonnie and Clyde delivers a gripping narrative that keeps audiences captivated from beginning to end. However, some fourth-wall breaking moments at the start are inconsistent with the rest of the narrative and an abrupt ending slightly disrupts the flow of the story, leaving some longing for a more cohesive resolution.

Overall, Bonnie and Clyde at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal is a thrilling theatrical experience that earns a respectable 4 stars. With its talented cast, captivating storytelling, and unforgettable score, it’s a production that will leave audiences breathless and eager for more.

Bonnie and Clyde plays at the Nottingham Theatre Royal until Saturday 18th May 2024.

Photography throughout from Richard Davenport.






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