The Sock ‘n’ Buskin Theatre Company returns to Kailash Mital theatre with the real life story of love and murder inspired by the infamous Bonnie & Clyde in Bonnie & Clyde: The Musical.
Should You See It?
Bonnie & Clyde: The Musical takes its audience on a surface level journey of the love story that becomes of Bonnie & Clyde. Starting from their prepubescent years and quickly jumping through time until the two star-struck lovers meet in their early 20’s and onwards and upwards through their bank robbing and murdering ways until their foreshadowed, from the very first moment of the show, deaths, this musical is definitely one of high and low points.
I must start by giving credit where credit is due, the core ensemble of this cast are phenomenal. Jesse Levy as Bonnie, Jesse Gervais as Clyde, Joy Mwandemange as Blanche and Kyle Villeneuve as The Preacher definitely held this cast together with their strong performances and captivating stage presence. Their performances alone are worth the admission to the show.
Bonnie & Clyde: The Musical is a big show and requires a lot of different scene changes, yet the stage hands and stage managers made the transitions flawless without taking away any sort of attention to what was happening on stage. In fact, as far as direction and stage presence is concerned it really does transition fluidly.
The problems I really have with this show revolve more around the content than around the actual performance. Sure, there were a handful of the cast, none main players, who were great at the melodies, but once a harmony hit things went downhill, but overall they weren’t too bad. The problem I have is how superficial and shallow every character is written. The way the show is written no one is truly a hero or a villain. We’re constantly told that Clyde is a hero, and we’re meant to empathize with him, yet then we watch him turn around and slap Bonnie around, murder, and even in one scene initiate what could have very easily turned into a rape.
The same level of shallowness goes alongside with a majority of the characters, including a Deputy Sheriff who is in love with Bonnie, and that is the entire depth to his character. There wasn’t a single inspired character in the show. In fact the only character who shows any sort of motivation is Bonnie, who goes from sweet and naïve to sadistic and evil in about half a page.
The show also is over 2 hours long and it feels its length, plus more. A lot of the musical numbers are repeated on such a regular basis they become inane, and if it weren’t for such a strong cast it would have driven me a little batty.
If you go into Bonnie & Clyde: The Musical with the intention to just sit back and enjoy some great musical numbers you will walk out of the theatre feeling satisfied with money well spent, if you go in for a great theatrical show that is full of twists and turns, perhaps it’s not the show for you.