Katie Tonkinson and Alex James-Hatton in Bonnie & Clyde - Photo: Richard Davenport

Legendary gangster couple Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker are at the heart of this bold musical biography, now on a UK tour after two West End runs.

It’s a visually stunning production, with Philip Witcomb’s costumes faithfully reproducing the couple’s style and his bold but simple set blending seamlessly with Nina Dunn’s video projections – too often projection is used as a cheap alternative to physical sets, but here it truly lifts up the aesthetic.

Sam Ferriday and Catherine Tyldesley in Bonnie & Clyde - Photo: Richard Davenport
Sam Ferriday and Catherine Tyldesley in Bonnie & Clyde – Photo: Richard Davenport

The music and lyrics are enjoyable enough, with some playful lyrics and nicely blended duets, but they lack any really strong hooks – don’t expect to come out humming a tune. The second act number What Was Good Enough For You is perfectly pitched though, with choreography, projections, and performances coming together impressively.

Of the performances, Catherine Tyldesley as Clyde’s sister in law Blanche outshines the two leads, perhaps because she has the least paradoxical characterisation.

Alex James-Hatton’s Clyde doesn’t quite know whether he’s a cute rogue or a real son of a bitch and so doesn’t quite pull either off: there’s no swagger in his first meeting with Bonnie that would plausibly sweep her off her feet.

Katie Tonkinson is stronger as his partner in crime, but again the book is not quite sure how to paint her: is she a dreamer caught along in the slip stream, or a knowing conspirator?

Bonnie and Clyde company - Photo: Richard Davenport
Bonnie and Clyde company – Photo: Richard Davenport

There is no faulting their vocals, however, and they are joined by preacher Jaz Ellington and cop Daniel Reid-Walters in handing out some enjoyable numbers.

The show romps along until a rather sudden ending; although the conclusion of the tale is hardly a surprise, the decision to open with the the couple’s death does slightly take the force out of the denouement. It’s more fade to black than blaze of glory.

There’s a lot to recommend this production – great presentation, impressive vocals, some sexy set pieces – but it doesn’t transcend the sum of its parts. America’s most wanted deserve that extra firepower.