“Bonnie and Clyde” at Runaway Stage

Bonnie and Clyde opened at Runaway Sage on Sept. 5 to a well-sold house and a warm audience reception.

The musical tells the story of outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, who captured the nation’s attention during the Great Depression. The ill-fated folk heroes went on a crime spree in the early 1930’s and were killed in an ambush in 1934.

David Holmes, who plays Clyde, has a great voice and is lively in his acting. Bonnie, portrayed by Jennifer Zimny, also has a lovely voice and plays her character with restraint.

Gillian Tarkington, playing Clyde’s sister-in-law Blanche Barrow, is strong in her role. Her moments and songs are some of the show’s best.

Bonnie and Clyde was nominated for the Best Original Score Tony Award in 2012. I’m not entirely sure why. Composer Frank Wildhorn’s songs feel like a re-hashing of his previous work. This score doesn’t carry the same guilty-pleasure-factor as his Jekyll and Hyde or The Scarlet Pimpernel, but definitely sounds reminiscent of both.

Regardless of Wildhorn’s lack of inventive content, the orchestra at Runaway is wonderful. The well-rounded sound they give the music really elevates the production.

Opening night’s tech was a little rocky, with some sound issues and set changes that could be smoothed out. But I have confidence that these troubles will be addressed during the show’s run.

The projections used in the production seem like a good idea in theory, but were distracting in practice. Having images of the real Bonnie and Clyde, who both photographed with such distinctive personality, pulls attention away from Holmes and Zimney’s portrayals.

The production is a good effort on Runaway’s part, but Bonnie and Clyde‘s writing is not the best material to work with. The show leaves me questioning why we are retelling this story, especially in such a bland manner. If we are going to revive our folk heroes on stage, they deserve something with a little more spark than Wildhorn’s formulaic treatment.

More information and tickets can be found HERE.

Review originally written for BroadwayWorld.com.


2 thoughts on ““Bonnie and Clyde” at Runaway Stage

  1. It’s too bad reviewers can’t be honest about the shows they see. Let’s be real here… the set was unfinished and it showed. The lighting was great. The costumes weren’t time period and were inconsistent and ill-fitting. Bonnie sounded like she was screaming. The show drags on and on and it NEVER ends. Blanche was incredible. They should’ve cut Bonnie entirely, and just had Blanche do the entire show.

    1. Claire-
      I certainly understand your comments, but there are a few things about reviewing that I’ll expound upon in a separate post sometime this winter.
      When it comes to the show: what day did you see it? I think that might be responsible for some of the differences in opinion we have. Bonnie certainly didn’t sound like she was screaming the night I went. Blanche was still a definite highlight.
      And I agree entirely about the show being too long. Frank Wildhorn’s shows tend to be dull and tremendously formulaic (though Jekyll and Hyde has at least a bit of “guilty pleasure” going for it). But that’s no fault of the cast or production team – it’s the writing itself.

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