On Thursday the Chaplin Theatre was awash with ‘splurge’ as our wonderful Year 8s performed their musical, ‘Bugsy Malone’, with the support of their friends in Year 7.  This is the crazy story of rival gangs of ‘hoodlums’ in 1930s New York.  Our eponymous hero was played with charm and great charisma by Rory R and his beautiful love interest, Blousey Brown, was a feisty Clemmie D; both sang and acted with great authority and skill.  Olivia H’s Fat Sam was a masterclass in slapstick and her useless gang, of Daisy F, Honor F, Francesca F, Honor G and Chaya L, were hilarious.  Ottoline G was the ruthless gang leader Dandy Dan who had his own bunch of stupid mobsters in Carlos NL, Mylo R, Umi M, Jack N and Gustave D.  Alexander W was the delightful, put-upon Fizzy and Chico M was the gentle giant Leroy.  Eric R played a great variety of roles and, as Cagey Joe, decided Leroy definitely had ‘it’!  The play was a real ensemble, with Year 8s in a huge variety of roles and managing very quick changes.  George S and Henry I were very busy clearing up bodies, reporting on the atrocities, getting splurged or auditioning for Eric in a ridiculous array of costumes.  Francesca F and Honor G were a pair of extremely inept and amusing detectives.  Olivia S and Isabelle H were gorgeous dancing girls (amongst other parts) and special mention must go to Delilah G who took on the starring role of Tallulah with less than 24 hours’ notice and was spectacular; she already had a great variety of scene-stealing parts to contend with!  We felt for poor Sofia E, who had worked so hard all term and who would have been wonderful too.

Year 7 formed a strong chorus and also played aspiring boxers in Slugger’s Gym, some laundry workers and a motley crew of down and outs.  Daisy D stepped in to take a few of Delilah’s lines and Arthur P made a charming Baby Face.

The Bugsy Band – led by Director of Music, Sue Glossop, and including our own marvellous visiting teachers Carl Greenwood (piano) and Dave Cottrell (Percussions) – were joined by Gapper Tom Howard on guitar.

Huge thanks to Tom Moore on lights, Ollie Dorman for set construction, Tracey Konyu for design and John Alderson for some beautiful photos.  Even more massive thanks to Finn Harrison (Gapper) who has given up so much of his time to support the rehearsal process and the performances as Stage Manager (a luxury I have never before enjoyed).

There were an enormous number of costumes and props to beg, borrow or steal and I had the most amazing gang of parents working tirelessly all term.  Kate Dawson was ever-present and incredibly helpful; Cristina Emslie, Fiona Fox, Rita Galloway, Coleen Indge, Mohini Lynch, Melvyn Offord, Elsbeth Rankin, Angelique Sander, Karen Spooner and Catherine Wakeford were so creative and enthusiastic.  They were led and organised by the indefatigable Kate Hunt, my regular right-hand woman and all-round absolute super-star.

The Year 8 show has often had its challenges and there are still some musicals that haunt my nightmares, but Bugsy will not be one of them.  Perhaps this year’s children were just delighted to be in school and performing in front of a (limited and socially distanced) audience; or possibly they are just a particularly well-behaved, dedicated, talented, enthusiastic and lovely group?  I am very proud of them all.

I am looking forward to tonight’s second showing and hope the audience have as much fun as the cast and crew.

Mary Alderson


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