Monday, July 15

Bonnie & Clyde – Palace Theatre, Manchester

In just 2 weeks Disney’s Aladdin flies into the Palace Theatre, one of the most anticipated shows of the year. But stop right there! This week Bonnie and Clyde drives onto the Place stage to raise a little hell in what so far, for me is the theatrical highlight of the year.

I am lucky enough to be able to see some of the best theatre this country has to offer visiting Manchester and this show leave me after two and a half hours struggling to find fault with it in any way whatsoever.

The staging, lighting, sound, orchestra and cast are faultless from the first gunshot to the last.

In a story that is never going to have a happy ending Katie Tonkinson (Bonnie) and Alex James-Hatton (Clyde) display a fiery emotional chemistry from the first moment they meet to the final fade of the lights. Each matching each other vocally they give ‘killer’ performances throughout.

Sam Ferriday and Catherine Tyldesley match the leads chemistry as brother Buck and wife Blanche. AJ Lewis as the Preacher has show stealing moments especially during God’s Arms Are Always Open. Daniel Reid Walters also shines as love struck Ted, who only has eyes for Bonnie.

©Richard Davenport

A hugely talented ensemble deliver confident cameos throughout with the bank scene being a particular highlight.

Aside from the talent on stage, the backdrop on which they play is nothing less than a visual feast. Using a combination of video walls and projections, the many scenes flow seamlessly from one to the next. Nina Dunn has excelled in her video design here, some of the best I have seen.

Zoe Spurr’s lighting design and Tom Marshall’s sound is faultless throughout. Katy Richardson’s musical supervision emits a quality from the pit better than most musicals I’ve seen in Manchester.

Jim Arnold CDG deserves a special mention here, a casting director who really understood his brief and delivered a cast that shone bright.

Don Black’s lyrics complementing Frank Wildhorn’s music are joyous and provide us with one of the most underrated scores in years, why did it take the West End so long to recognise this stunning writing.

As a reviewer, I sit watching a show to find fault, as well as positives. Tonight, the only faults I could find were a couple of continuity errors, the positives out weighed the faults by a ridiculous figure.

Bonnie & Clyde is a show that we needed years ago, and this reinvention is so welcome for musical theatre in the UK. It is slick, stylish and packs a punch like nothing else touring the UK right now.

I could come up with quotes like ‘kill to get a ticket’, however I simply say get down to the Palace this week to experience the best musical Manchester has seen this year!

Playing until 11th May,

Reviewer: Paul Downham

Reviewed: 7th May 2024

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.