Bonnie and Clyde hits the right musical notes!


“Dyin’ ain’t so bad 
Not if you both go together 
Only when one’s left behind
Does it get sad…”

 Lyric from “Dyin’ Ain’t So Bad”


Frances Mayli McCann as Bonnie Parker and Jordan Luke Gage as Clyde Barrow (Photo: Richard Davenport)

In 2011 New York, of course, was a one critic town and Ben Brantley of the New York Times said of Bonnie Parker’s characterisation of wanna be Clara Bow that, “I don’t think ingénue was what Bonnie Parker was about.”  Brantley’s kiss of death was, “Clyde, honey, t’ain’t nothing you can do to raise the pulse of something that’s as near to dead as the show you’re in.” 

The problem might also have been that Frank Wildhorn’s previous musical scores had disappointed as well as that Americans were uncomfortable warming to the murdering Barrow gang.  However, this killing wasn’t a problem in 1967 with the Hollywood film starring Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway and Gene Hackman. 

Bonnie and Clyde the Musical had its world premiere in 2009 in San Diego and the Broadway production previewed from 4th November 2011, to open on 1st December.  On 16th December the producers announced it would close on 30th December. 

So is London going to be different.  Yes, I can confidently say it is. 

I liked Wildhorn’s range of music, jazzy, blues, rich ballads, rock and pop and Don Black’s romantic lyrics.  Ivan Menchell’s book does a good job emphasising the lack of opportunities in Depression hit America and showing the region’s dependence on fundamental religion. 

Natalie McQueen as Blanche Barrow and George Maguire as Buck Barrow (Photo: Richard Davenport)

Stars Frances Magli McCann and Jordan Luke Gage are the eponymous  waitress and poverty struck, unemployed, young man who idolised Billy the Kid.  They died aged 23 and 25.  They were born in Texas and died in Louisiana after two years of a crime spree of armed robberies of mostly small stores and gas stations.  They had killed nine policemen and four civilians but died in a hail of 100 bullets in each other’s arms in their Ford V8. 

Clyde says to his father about his hard life as a poor sharecropper farmer, “What was good enough for you Pa, will not satisfy your wayward son. Jesse James had much more fun building dreams with just a gun. That’s how the West was won.”

Bonnie sings about her desire to be famous like Clara Bow in “Picture Show”.  She also writes poetry.  The upbeat “This World Will Remember Me!” is an early show stopper sung by Bonnie and Clyde. Bonnie’s solo “How ‘Bout a Dance” is a soft romantic ballad sung sweetly.  Clyde and Buck rhythmically express the thrill of driving their 60mph Ford V8 in “When I Drive”.

There is light relief from Natalie McQueen as Blanche, Clyde Barrow’s sister in law.  Bible bashing Blanche persuades her husband Buck Barrow (George Maguire) to hand himself in in return for a lighter sentence “You’re Going Back to Jail”.  Her put downs of Bonnie and Clyde are hysterically funny, as are her invocations of God.  An early scene in her hairdressing shack has Buck wrapped in towels hiding under a hairdryer from the police.  Getting Buck baptised, the gospel singing turns into full rock ‘n’ roll in “God’s Arms Are Always Open.” 

Policeman Ted Hinton (Cleve Hinton) is obsessed with Bonnie in the longing of “You Can Do Better Than Him” but she aches for excitement which isn’t Ted, but Clyde Barrow. 

Jordan Luke Gage as Cluyde Barrow (Photo: Richard Davenport)

I liked the set which has side sets of agricultural stuff and a cash till area but the back projections of forests and woods are really attractive and key to place.  A bullet riddled screen surrounded by prison bars drops for scene changes. The costumes too are perfect for the era.  We never see prison suits but the civilian suits have wide, wide trousers and flashy jackets and of course the fedoras are full of style.  Bonnie wears the elegant 30s knitted stripes she was often photographed in. 

The weakness is the choreography which is rather staid and unimaginative but the Arts Theatre is a smaller stage and there is plenty of shooting action.

“You Love Who You Love” has the two women singing together and is a stand out number. Bonne and Clyde should do a lot better in London than Broadway with its two acting and singing stars, catchy music and strongly sung duets.  

Ako MItchell as the Preacher and Company (Photo: Richard Davenport)

Musical Numbers

Act One


 Picture Show  

 This World Will Remember Me  

 You’re Goin’ Back to Jail  

 How ‘Bout a Dance?

Here in Our Hearts

 When I Drive  

 God’s Arms Are Always Open  

 You Can Do Better Than Him  

 You Love Who You Love  

 Raise a Little Hell  

 This World Will Remember Us


Act Two

Made in America  

 Too Late to Turn Back Now  

 That’s What You Call a Dream  

 What Was Good Enough For You  


 Raise a Little Hell (reprise)  

 Dyin’ Ain’t So Bad  

 God’s Arms Are Always Open (reprise)

 You Can Do Better Than Him (reprise)

 Dyin’ Ain’t So Bad (reprise)  


Production Notes

Bonnie and Clyde  

Book by Ivan Menchell

Music by Frank Wildhorn

Lyrics by Don Black



Frances Mayli McCann

Jordan Luke Gage

George Maguire

Natalie McQueen

Cleve September

Ako Mitchell



Pippa Winslow

Grace Lai

Alistair So

Alexander Evans

Ross Davies

Barney Wilkinson

Lauren Jones



Charlie McCullagh

Annie Guy



Aiya Agustin

Finn Barwell

George Menezes Cutts

Jersey Blu Georgia

Louis Gray

Lineo NCube

Bes Ward

Isaac Lancel Watkinson


Director: Nick Winston

Musical Supervisor: Katy Richardson

Set and Costume Designer: Philip Whitcomb

Lighting Designer:  Zoe Spurr

Sound Designer:  Tom Marshall

Video Designer: Nina Dunn

Choreographer: Megan Louch

Musical Director: Nick Barstow


Running Time: Two hours 20 minutes with an interval

Booking until 10th July 2022 



Arts Theatre

6-7 Great Newport Street

London, WC2B 7JH

Phone: 020 7836 8463

Tube: Leicester Square

Reviewed by Lizzie Loveridge at the

Arts Theatre

on 19th April 2022