By Kyra Gillespie
The Cardinia Performing Arts Company (CPAC) made an impressive return to the stage this year with its performance of the 2011 Tony nominated Broadway musical Bonnie and Clyde.
Directed by Ryan Lindsay Turner, this adaptation of the classic story oscillates between light and dark, good and evil, and humour and poignancy.
“The Bonnie and Clyde story isn’t a nice story, what they all went through was hell.
“We wanted to show their struggles, making it raw and slightly darker than the original on Broadway,” Director Ryan Lindsay Turner said.
The Cardinia Cultural Centre set consisted of a central wooden structure which was used strategically throughout the performance. During the show, the structure was transformed into many different worlds; from a jail to a church, a held-up bank to a police station, and romantic hideaway to an ambushed warzone. The set was constantly pivoting between good and evil.
In the same way, the play constantly tugged at the audiences’ sensibilities; we know that Bonnie and Clyde are doing the wrong thing, but yet we are vouching for them the whole way through.
Lead actors Emily Hansford, who played Bonnie Parker, and Mitchell Stewart as Clyde Barrow, produced a fantastic interpretation of the famous couple. Privy to the couples’ every move, their on-stage chemistry left audience members blushing.
Equally enchanting was Nicola Downie and Brock Downie, who played the part of Blanche and Buck Barrow. Their flawless interactions and humorous exchanges added a much-needed lightness to the dark world of the 1930s Great Depression.
Performing a duet of You Love Who You Love Nicola and Emily’s harmonies were powerful and moving.
The chorus appearances were an absolute highlight of the show, particularly their gospel-church style rendition of God’s Arms Are Always Open.
The talent of choreographers Rob Mullholland and Stephanie Haigh shone through in the tight, clean ensemble dances and effective freeze frames.
All in all a fantastic revival of an infamous tale.