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Bonnie & Clyde the Musical: Filmed Live (Online Review)

When it comes to pro shots, the live recording of London's Bonnie and Clyde staged concert is one of the best, delivering a stellar cast and moments of strong cinematography. Yet despite this, Bonnie and Clyde as a musical feels problematic, and no amount of Jeremy Jordan and creative staging can counter its inconsistent material.

Over two years after the concert's original staging, the musical retelling of the notorious gangsters Bonnie and Clyde finally receives its pro shot premiere, and with a thrilling cast of stars and rising British talent, strong cinematography and tasteful on-stage direction, it's a near perfect production of Bonnie and Clyde - the only problem is Bonnie and Clyde is not a great musical to begin with. A book with mundane scenes, tonally incoherent and a forgettable score, making the thrilling duo's story a bullet point retelling, more akin in feel to a Wattpad fanfiction than a meaningful historical analysis. Despite this, the concert still manages to deliver, from Jeremy Jordan, Frances Mayli McCann and their supporting cast bringing the score's strongest moments to life with passion, rage and talent.

As a piece of cinema, the pro shot surprisingly surpasses the quality of most: longer, more thoughtful shots are often used in favour of the typically whiplash inducing cuts found in many filmed musicals, allowing a greater admiration of Nick Winston's gorgeous staging. Thrilling sequences like the final shootout receive dynamic cinematography, crossfading images in a way that amplifies the theatrical experience in a way only the cinematic medium can. Equally close up shots allow an appreciation of the smaller acting moments in an intimate and touching way. That being said, one does wonder however if Bonnie and Clyde is the most apt production to receive the pro shot treatment; with a restrictive book that rarely allows the opportunity for nuanced acting and a concert staging designed to play to the back of the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, when seen close up the production feels overwhelmingly large - there's little in the way of subtlety that could truly justify the pro shot being a heightened experience.

Jeremy Jordan gives a fantastic performance as Clyde Barrow. Jordan brings, at times, an intense rage to Clyde that results in one of his strongest performances - while his roles of Jack Kelly and currently as Jay Gatsby may be more prolific, this role provides him the chance to engage with a more nuanced character in the moments that the script allows it. What the people want, however, are the vocals and they entirely deliver. With stand out moments such as When I Drive, Raise A Little Hell, and Too Late to Turn Back Now, Jordan is given plenty of opportunity to flex his famed tenor range and impress he does.

Co starring as Bonnie Parker is Frances Mayli McCann. While less seasoned as her titular partner, McCann equally impresses and shares a wonderful chemistry - if not undermined by it feeling hard to believe in the romance between two serial killers. However, Trevor Dion Nicholas steals the show with a mere two songs in the role of the Preacher, delivering heaps of charisma and fantastic vocals.

The problem with Bonnie and Clyde is its tonal confusion: the piece desires to be a romantic tragedy, yet seems to forget that it is telling the story of two of America's most prolific criminals. In order for a romance or tragedy to have emotional resonance, one must care for the characters and unfortunately, one struggles to care for a pair of money hungry murderers. The piece attempts to frame the duo as heroes under the context of the American Great Depression in a commentary on the American dream and class system. What could be a thrilling and gripping drama about what drives a pair of gangsters through deluded and manipulative love, becomes a generic romance, that just so happens to feature the backdrop of shoot outs and robberies - most of which are played for laughs.

Simply put, the concert pro shot of Bonnie and Clyde is an excellent production of a flawed show. However, those who are fans of the material will most certainly find a lot to enjoy here.

⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3*)

Gifted tickets in return for an honest review | photography provided by PR


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