Written by Patrick Chavis
17 February 2015
Some people aspire to be famous, but when fame is out of reach, some reach for the Infamy card. Few people exemplify this idea more than those Great Depression era bandits Bonnie and Clyde –well at least the recreation of them does in Bonnie & Clyde the Musical playing now at the Costa Mesa Playhouse.
The Musical Bonnie & Clyde follows the two main characters, Bonnie Elizabeth Parker and Clyde Chestnut Barrow, as they grow up idolizing different famous historical figures which conveniently shape the fate of who they will one day become. As a younger girl Bonnie looks up to Clara Bow – a famous actress who grew in popularity during the silent movie era of the 1920s. Bonnie's love for Clara is made quite apparent in the Song 'Picture Show' featuring a young Bonnie played by Maddy Nickless, singing about wanting nothing more then to be just like the film star. In the same song, a young Clyde played by DJ Price speaks about his adoration for Billy the Kid. As Clyde gets older his hero changes to Al Capone, but his love for outlaws remains the same. As the story progresses, Bonnie and Clyde meet. It's love at first sight, and their criminal hijinks commence.
As with many musicals, the deeper side of the characters are kind of shoved away to make room for the more flashy, widely disputable parts of the characters' lives. But who cares about historical accuracy? It's a musical! We get gunfights, high notes, romance and every now and then a few glimpses of reality in-between the music and dancing. The music is live in this production, and you can feel and hear it. Since this is a musical, I was glad to find the music and singing to be the best parts of the production –especially from the main actors Ashley Arlene Nelson and Lance Smith.
Flubs were practically none existent in this production, until the characters stopped singing and started acting. While not everyone was on par acting wise, there were some stand out actors. Elizabeth Suzanne playing Blanche Barrow is one of them. Elizabeth is phenomenal in this role –singing and acting her character flawlessly throughout the entire production.
The story tugs at the heart and moves so fast even the most impatient theatergoer won't get bored.