Sunday, October 8, 2017

Review of Kokandy Productions' Bonnie & Clyde

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Bonnie & Clyde. The book was by Ivan Menchell. The music was by Frank Wildhorn, and the lyrics were by Don Black. It was directed by Spencer Neiman. The music direction was by John Cockerill, and the choreography was by Aubrey Adams. It was about a couple, Bonnie Parker (Desiree Gonzalez) and Clyde Barrow (Max Detogne), who committed robberies and murders during the 1930s. It is about their lives and how they were brought together and how terrible their deaths were. It is about love, fame, and family. I think this show has a such great songs and a really compelling story. I really liked it.

My favorite song was "Picture Show." It was about how Young Bonnie (Tia L. Pinson) wants to be a movie star like Clara Bow and Young Clyde (Jeff Pierpoint) wants to be like the outlaw Billy the Kid. It was my favorite song because it was sung so well and it had really great music and is super catchy and I am still thinking about it now. It shows us the evolution of these characters and how even when they are adults their values are basically the same as when they were children because they still want fame but once they become adults, at that point in their lives, they will do anything to get what they want. You imagine they would grow out of it, but they never did. The adult version of "Picture Show" is "The World Will Remember Us" sung by the grown-up version of Bonnie and Clyde. It is saying "people will remember us because of our outlandish actions, not just because we could be like someone famous." They have discovered their way out of the Devil's Back Porch, where they live, and it is through each other, a few people's lives, and a lot of their money and cars.

There were a lot of visually stunning moments in this show. One of my favorites was in "The World Will Remember Us" where they recreated the famous Bonnie and Clyde photo shoot that they did with their guns. The pictures are just the most badass thing I've ever seen. (I'm a big Bonnie and Clyde nerd at this point. I watched a documentary and read a book.) Everyone looks so amazing in them but you are kind of afraid at the same time. I love how they just left them at a crime scene. Oopsie daisy, just dropped these badass photos. The recreation in the musical was so spot-on and perfect. I loved that moment. "God's Arms are Always Open" also had a great visual moment where it was basically a montage of Clyde robbing all of these different people, but also having a gospel section, led by the Preacher (Nathan Carroll), in between each robbery. The Preacher is reassuring Buck Barrow (Cisco Lopez) that he's doing the right thing going back to jail and that God will forgive him. Buck turned himself in because his wife Blanche (Missy Wise) wanted him to go back so they didn't have to live in fear anymore. Whenever the people singing gospel would raise their hands in praise, Clyde would put his gun up like he was robbing them. It was so disturbing and so cool-looking.

I had very complicated feeling about the characters of Bonnie and Clyde because they had done so many terrible things but were so in love with each other. And they were real people, which makes it more complicated because you want them to win, but in real life they would have just kept killing a bunch of people, which wouldn't have been great. "You Love Who You Love" is a song Bonnie and Blanche sang beautifully as a duet. It is basically about how hard it is to be the significant other of their partners and talking about how they can't choose who they love, even though it is hard being them. You see that Blanche especially is sort of a bystander and that they did terrible things, but it was because of love. I thought this was a really sad but true song. You can't help loving people even if you don't want to. You can try, but it hurts. "Raise a Little Hell" was a song that Clyde sang about how he had done so many bad things already, so why doesn't he do some more. There were some great vocal acrobatics in this. It is complicated because it is a terrible thing to say, but he is doing these things to get back to the person he loves most and away from all the people in jail who hurt him. So he has a good motive, but that doesn't make what he does to people okay. "Dyin' Ain't So Bad" is a really sad song sung by Bonnie and Clyde, but it is really beautiful. At the time, they are not doing anything wrong, they are just saying their feelings and that they know they haven't been saints, but they lived the life they wanted to and if they died now it wouldn't be so bad because they had the life that they wanted. They wanted to be famous, they wanted to be together, and they wanted to be happy.

People who would like this show are people who like complicated characters, interesting histories, and photo shoots with your guns. I think people should definitely, definitely go see this show. It closes next weekend, so get your tickets while you still can. It has beautiful music, great performances, and I'm obsessed with this musical now.

Photos: Evan Hanover

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