Bonnie & Clyde UK Tour
Rating: ★★★★
Venue: Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford
Cast: Catherine Tyldesley, Alex James-Hatton, Katie Tonkinson, Sam Ferriday and Jaz Ellington

Two small-town kids from the middle of nowhere became the biggest folk heroes in all America. They craved adventure—and each other. Their names were Bonnie and Clyde. Fearless, shameless, and alluring, this award-winning production has garnered a mass following, much like the infamous pair themselves, and now they are set to take your city by storm. Discover the electrifying story of love, adventure and crime that captured the attention of an entire nation.

Less than a year after thrilling audiences in London’s West End, Bonnie & Clyde are back on the run with a UK & Ireland tour. After loving it during both of its runs at the Arts Theatre and the Garrick Theatre, I was intrigued to see how the new cast would take on Ivan Menchell’s book and the beautiful music and lyrics by Frank Wildhorn and Don Black, and I’m pleased to say they did not disappoint.

With almost identical staging and costumes to the last London run, there was very little difference besides a host of new stars taking on the roles; so it was the new cast that would really make or break this version. The highlight of the whole show for me was Alex James-Hatton, who wowed as Clyde. Perfectly cast as the charming farm-boy-turned-bank-robber, he captured the conflicting nature of Clyde and stole the show with his version of the stand-out song 'Raise A Little Hell'. His counterpart Katie Tonkinson also had some highlights throughout as Bonnie, starting off as an innocent waitress at a diner, dreaming of being the next ‘it girl’, to being infatuated with Clyde and following him for a life on the run, and a criminal in her own right.

The stage itself felt wider than previously, but the set more than filled the space. From Bonnie and Clyde’s iconic car in the opening and closing scenes, to the smaller details like bullet holes covering every inch of the walls, the dull brown set enhanced each scene, bringing the hardships of early 20th-century America to life. The clever use of screens during 'Raise A Little Hell' also gave the illusion of Clyde running through the prison in his attempt to escape.

For me, this show was very close to a five-star review, however I found there was potential for humour to be better incorporated into this version of the show. Catherine Tyldesley brought Blanche Barrow to life and beautifully captured her desperation for her husband Buck (also played brilliantly by Sam Ferriday) to quit being Clyde’s sidekick and return to life with her on the straight and narrow. But some of Blanche’s previously more comedic moments felt missing for me.

Despite this, it was overall a thrilling return to the stage for these infamous outlaws, and well worth seeing as Bonnie & Clyde travels to venues across the country until the end of October.

You can book tickets to the UK tour of Bonnie & Clyde, here.

Review by Vickie 

**photography by Richard Davenport**

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