Review: Bonnie and Clyde

Written by on May 8, 2024

Review: Bonnie and Clyde

07/05/24: Manchester Palace Theatre by Jamie Griffiths

Bonnie and Clyde has come on tour direct from the West End where it swiftly earned a devoted fanbase. Withing a matter of minutes it’s clear to see what’s appealed to audiences – this is a thrilling ride through the tumultuous lives of America’s most infamous outlaw couple, and it’s skilfully brought to life on stage with captivating performances and a dynamic score.



From the moment the curtain rises, the audience is transported back to the Great Depression era, where Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow’s story unfolds against a backdrop of poverty, desperation, and rebellion. The staging is really dynamic, and it’s all enveloped in tones of sepia and 1950s nostalgia. Nick Winston has directed a production that seamlessly weaves together moments of romance, tension, and tragedy, drawing viewers into the complex world of these notorious figures.

Katie Tonkinson – Alex James-Hatton – Bonnie and Clyde
©Richard Davenport

At the heart of the show are the stellar performances by our Bonnie and Clyde, Katie Tonkinson and Alex James-Hatton, who bring depth and humanity to their portrayals of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. They are tasked with conveying both the passion and the turmoil of their relationship with authenticity and emotion, and I was particularly impressed with how they raised the drama and high stakes through the production. Katie in particular delivered her big numbers with precision and power, and Alex truly Raised A Little Hell as his world began to fall apart.

Catherine Tyldesley – Blanche
©Richard Davenport

Catherine Tyldesley is stunning as Blanche Barrow, delivering a convincing portrayal of this true life tortured soul. Blanche’s faith and compassion for her family are conflicting through most of the show and Catherine navigates this anguish in a heartfelt and engaging way.

The set design and staging further enhance the production, transporting the audience from dusty rural landscapes to cold rusty prison cells with seamless transitions and striking visuals. The lighting and sound design added convincing depth and perspective to the digitally created scenes, and it’s used in stark contrast to the loud noise and blinding flashes of the gunfights.

One of the highlights of “Bonnie and Clyde the Musical” is its exploration of the complex moral ambiguity surrounding its protagonists. At no point does the play suggest that our ‘heroes’ will survive this descent into criminality, and everyone on stage seems resigned to this fact from early on. While they are undoubtedly criminals, the show delves into the societal factors that shaped their choices and the romanticized allure of their outlaw lifestyle. This nuanced approach invites us to consider the broader themes of love, loyalty, and the pursuit of the American Dream.

Overall, Bonnie and Clyde the Musical is a thrilling drama which progresses at a pace, and Frank Wildhorn and Don Black’s musical numbers particularly shine every time the cast perform a duet. This is a musical that excels thanks to the harmony of it’s cast, and AJ Lewis’ soulful turn as the preacher elevates every scene he’s in.

There’s no denying that this musical is a tragedy, but there is plenty to love in Bonnie and Clyde.

Get tickets and more information from the official site HERE.


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