This smoothly recorded album really manages to bring the story and characters to life.
The trouble with cast recordings of musicals is that sometimes that it can’t quite match the experience of seeing the show and hearing the music live. However, with this West End cast recording of the immensely popular musical you really do get a strong sense of the story and characters even though you can’t see what is happening.
Much of this is down to the fact there is an inclusion of dialogue in the build up to the songs that add additional depth and context to the songs that really ensure that the listener can follow the story as it unfolds – as that is the purpose of many songs in musicals: to tell the story and uncover how characters are feeling at any given time through music.
But it is also down to the fact that the incredible West End cast manage to convey their characters so well through the wonderful songs written by Frank Wildhorn (Jekyll & Hyde) Don Black (Sunset Boulevard) – all of which are strong from start to finish. Led by Frances Mayli McCann and Jordan Luke Gage in the title roles, the combination of their vocals work really well on songs such as ‘Picture Show’ which shows just how big Bonnie and Clyde’s dreams are, with a sense of wistfulness on McCann’s part combing beautifully with Gage’s bolder sense of adventure from Clyde’s perspective.
They are equally strong independently, with another real highlight being Frances Mayli Mccann’s gorgeously flawless rendition of ‘How ’bout a Dance?’ which is wonderfully seductive to listen to, through her vocals you can tell how her character is lost in her dreams of becoming a star – its really not hard to see how Clyde falls for Bonnie at this stage! Meanwhile, Jordan Luke Gage’s rendition of ‘Raise A Little Hell’ allows for the sheer powerfulness of his vocals to shine through, highlighting the emotional rawness he is feeling at this point in the show.
But there is also fabulous support to be found elsewhere thanks to performances from Jodie Steele and George Maguire as Blanche and Buck Barrow, with their relationship being beautifully felt even through this recording thanks to their performances through some truly heartbreaking moments. The harmonies are also consistently brilliant on songs such as ‘Made in America’ in which gives the ensemble a chance to shine as well as ‘You’re Going Back To Jail’ that is a real treat to listen to.
Some may think that perhaps the musical in many ways romanticises these two infamous criminals, but there is no doubting the powerful way in which the musical brings their story to life and bring this part of American history to life. The way in which the orchestra perform these songs with such energy and passion is incredible and makes this cast recording a real treat to listen to.
By Emma Clarendon
Bonnie & Clyde West End Cast Recording is available to purchase and download now.