Review: Bugsy Malone at Liverpool Empire

Review: Bugsy Malone at Liverpool Empire

Bugsy Malone, one of my all time favourite films growing up. I knew all the songs by heart and wanted to be a dancer at Fat Sam’s Grand Slam, Speakeasy. In fact I can’t type or read that line without singing it. So I was delighted to take my 12 year old daughter to the Liverpool Empire tonight to watch the stage version of Bugsy Malone.

If you didn’t grow up watching the 1976 film with Jodie Foster (as a young 13 year old Tallulah) and have it on VHS which you watched over and over again, then you might not know the story.

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Bugsy Malone is set in prohibition era, New York. A city full of mobsters, showgirls and dreamers. Rival gangster bosses Fat Sam and Dandy Dan are at loggerheads. The custard pies are flying and Dandy Dan’s gang has gotten the upper hand since obtaining the new-fangled “splurge” gun. Now, Fat Sam and his bumbling buffoons are in real trouble!

An updated version of the theatre show and film is touring the UK, having first made a stop at London’s Alexandra Palace for the festive season.

The film itself has an all-child cast playing the roles of adults.  In this production there’s a mix, with all the lead roles being played by the kids and the ensemble roles played by adults.  I wasn’t totally sure about this approach. The difficulty perhaps was with the chosen cast of ours (three different children play each part allowing rotation) as the girls were incredibly tall and the boys incredibly short; initially it was tricky to actually tell that Tallulah (Alicia Belgarde) and Blousey (Delilah Bennett-Cardy) were actually children. In fact my 12 year old asked why the young boy (Shaun Sharma as Bugsy) was flirting with an adult.

That being said the children’s performances were excellent, and they did particularly well with the strong American accents. Alicia Belgarde and Delilah Bennett-Cardy did excellent solo pieces and I found myself having to stop myself from signing along.

The set piece dances with all the ensemble are excellent. I particularly enjoyed “So you want to be a Boxer’ and ‘Bad Guys’.

The show is a fun show with great music, fabulous performances and brilliant dancing. It might not be perfect, but release your inner child, take your children, and you’ll have a ball.

Bugsy Malone is on at Liverpool Empire until Saturday 11th February. You can get tickets here.

The audience went wild with delight


An infectiously joyous staging


An exuberant, ebullient, uplifting show


You can get tickets here.

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Karen Beddow founded Mini Travellers in 2014 while doing what she loves most...going on holiday!

Mini Travellers is for parents looking for holiday ideas, destination reviews, days out and things to do with the kids. We also have family travel tips, activity ideas and all other things family holiday related. Take a look at some of our latest reviews for holidays and day trips in the UK.

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