KYDS YOUTH DRAMA SOCIETY
Director Alexandra Berriman Co Director Jon Beales Musical Director Marcelina Mochalska
Cheographer Aaron Owen Bailey
An ambitious show for this relatively new group to perform with highs and lows in the performances.
A huge cast with many young people taking on at least two/three characters which was a big ask.
There were far too many characters for me to comment on each and every one but some did give a real feel for the characters they played.
In particular I thought Fat Sam played by Brad Cole understood the part he was playing very well and his dialogue was clear and measured.
There was a tendency for Peter Greenwood playing Bugsy to talk really fast which made it hard to hear all the words, but he varied his lines well and gave a confident performance and has now had played many different characters with the group.
Rachel Shortland playing a variety of roles including Captain Smolsky was excellent ,lively and energetic which gave life to the production, It came over to the audience well.
I would have liked to see more animation from more young people on stage, far too many seemed to be restrained in both singing and speaking which was a shame as they all knew their words and songs so well it could have enhanced the performances to really “sock it” to the audience.
When on stage unless you project well people in the audience past about the fourth row really have problems in hearing the dialogue so do not be afraid to speak up and a very important thing is always SMILE when on stage.
Beth Mayne as Tallulah looked the part with a great costume and sung well perhaps to hold on rather more at the end of a song would have given more feeling.
Jenny Hayward as Blousey had a sweet voice but needed to show more emotion in her face throughout her performance.
Joe Oyelade as Leroy showed great promise and I hope to see him progress to larger parts in the future.
The small band did well in balancing with the cast.I would have liked rather more sound to support the singers as at times it was very quiet, but far better than overpowering voices which seems to happen an awful lot now.
Perhaps in the future when going from one scene to the next the band could play some cover music as it gives the audience an interest and links the scenes very well?
Great idea in your style of programme I thought it very clever.Well done.
I do feel however that the company is growing and learning and improving year on year and well done to Alex and Co for working so hard to get young people interested you all are doing a really worthwhile job and it is evident that the interest is there.
I look forward to your Pantomime.
NORTH ESSEX THEATRE GUILD
SHOWCASE FESTIVAL 2010/2011
Group KYDS Youth Drama Society
Venue Thurstable School, Tiptree
Date of Adjudication Saturday 18th June 2011
Production Bugsy Malone
Director Alex Berriman
Adjudicated by Jane Rayner
Accompanied by Anne Sexton
I’ve never seen Bugsy Malone, neither the film nor the stage musical so I had no preconceptions about how the characters should be played. My colleague rates it as one of her favourite shows.
Front of House
This is a very friendly group and we were given a warm welcome. Some of the team were dressed appropriately and twenties style music was played before the show, all helping to set the scene.
The programme was one of the most imaginative we’ve seen, designed as police notes in a brown folder. It was full of information, pictures and great touches of humour, including Wanted posters and a recipe for Splurge Pie.
A plain black curtained set was necessary for all the many scenes changes. Bugsy is a show packed with short scenes. They are well suited to the original film, but are a difficult device to use when trying to develop momentum on stage.
There were times when the tables and chairs were carried on and off again, for very short scenes, rather disrupting the flow of the action. Perhaps for these very brief scenes it might have been better to use one side of the stage and adjust the lighting.
The outfits were well chosen, mainly black and white, with one gang having black with white accessories, the other in white with black trimming. A nice touch.
The nightclub singers had red sequinned dresses but the effect was spoilt by two minor deviations from the “uniform”. Most of the dancers wore sheer black tights but one had patterned tights. Any chorus group needs to work out themselves, or be told, what to wear on their legs. Another dancer had a black vest top that showed above the neckline of her dress.
The gang leaders’ suits looked very smart and the chorus, as down and outs, boxers etc. were dressed appropriately for their characters.
Lighting and sound
The lighting plan worked well; areas were lit without shadowing the dark areas and the sound cues were on time.
The band, five talented musicians, played sympathetically for the soloists so as not to drown out their singing. Musical director Marcelina Mochalska also had a very good singing voice. They played well together and were a pleasure to listen to.
The singing was mostly of a good standard.
Bugsy Malone. Peter Greenwood
This is a challenging role. Bugsy is both narrator and actor and though he is the title character, I’m not sure that it is the best role in the show. Peter gave us a likeable rogue and had a good, sympathetic rapport with Blousey. His diction wasn’t always clear and during the second act, he constantly fiddled with his microphone. It’s really hard when something feels uncomfortable – we’ve all been there – but you have to try and carry on. He gained in confidence throughout the show.
Fat Sam. Brad Cole
This was a suitably brash, confident performance. Brad had real stage presence, clear, precise movements and excellent diction. He had an air of dominance over his gang, which beautifully fell apart as his fortunes changed.
Blousey. Jenny Hayward
Jenny’s first song was very difficult, slow, with not much of a tune to follow but she sang sweetly. Initially she was rather too quiet and understated but she created a character that we cared about. Blousey’s life is full of knock backs and Jenny showed a gentle vulnerability. I especially liked her routine with the more glamorous dancers. She did all the same moves but managed to show her character’s lack of confidence.
Tallulah. Beth Mayne
Tallulah is a showgirl and gangster’s moll and perhaps Beth was too demure to be totally convincing. She had a lovely singing voice and was attractive and likeable.
Captain Smolsky. Rachel Shortland
Rachel showed a real talent for comedy, great timing and stage presence. Smolsky is a stereotypical bumbling cop, with an even dimmer sidekick. The interaction between them was very good.
I hope I’ll be forgiven for not naming all of the parts that Rachel took. She altered her body language for each one, creating totally different characters and made each appearance count, no matter how brief. An excellent performance.
O’Dreary. Jodie Cole
Delightfully dim, following Smolsky, Jodie made the most of this part, handling the humour well.
Lena. Shaunna Lynch
A brief appearance as Lena, Shaunna sang well.
Fizzy. Leon Kennedy
Pushing his broom, dreaming of his big break, Fizzy is a sad, downtrodden and vulnerable character, a contrast to all the other brash people who frequent Fat Sam’s bar. Leon was very appealing and sang well. However, Fizzy’s sad song would have been better if he’d been encouraged to stand still when singing. Sometimes stillness is more effective than movement. Had he started by pushing his broom, and then leaned upon it for the rest of the song, it would have wrung every drop of pathos from that scene.
Oscar De Velt. Sophie Stocker
A nice touch to have the director sitting in the audience. Sophie made him loud, bossy and brutally dismissive.
Leroy. Joe Oyelade.
Joe made a great boxing contender and his answer to every question with “No” was very funny.
Cagey Joe. Dan Carr
Good, clear diction. As the boxing promoter, Dan created a memorable character and sang well.
Dandy Dan. Matthew Russell.
I know he’s a baddie but I liked Matthew’s portrayal of Dandy Dan. He somehow stood out from the crowd and obviously relished his character’s nasty ways. A good characterisation.
Bronx Charlie. Sophie Stocker
Doodle. Alex Parry
Yonkers. Amy Hawkes
Benny Lee. Jodie Cole
Shoulders. Shaunna Lynch
As Dandy Dan’s gang they were amazing, chasing up and down the aisle, shouting and splurging all and sundry! They certainly made an impact and obviously had a great time.
Tillie. Becca Hayward
Loretta. Charlotte Hood
Velma. Laylah Back
Dotty. Ella Vanson
Bangles. Katy Hood
A tuneful and attractive group of singers and dancers.
Andrew Stocker, Lucy Greed, Cheyenne Coleman, Joe Oyelade, Alex Parry, Phoebe Jowett, Sophie Stocker, Amy Hawkes, Beccy Hayward, Charlotte Hood, Laylah Black, Ella Vanson, Katy Hood, Tilly Kelly.
All of these actors took more than one role, changing not just their costumes but their personalities, too. Their characters were sometimes comic, sometimes touching. They sang, they danced and each and every one contributed to the success of the show.
This was a good production, showcasing the talents of the young cast. Offering a variety of entertainment, the show incorporates elements of slapstick, farce, panto, and comedy to blend with the music and dancing. The choreography was well done and the ensemble numbers were great to watch.
The scene changes in act one were sometimes a little slow, but those in act two were slicker.
I hadn’t realised just how much slapstick there was. The cast showed their obvious enjoyment, running up and down the aisles, squirting each other!
The accents were maintained throughout. Initially I was listening to them but they never faltered and I soon took them for granted. Well done.
The bursts of energy were great but spasmodic, the humour was definitely there and the characterisations were very good but perhaps a little tighter direction would have made this production even better.
We both had an enjoyable afternoon and wish all the cast every success in their next show.
Jane Rayner and Anne Sexton