Bonnie & Clyde The Musical review – Digital release ★★★☆☆

We begin at the end in a hail of bullets. Given the outlaw pair’s continued notoriety, which continues almost a century on from their Great Depression-era crime spree, Bonnie and Clyde’s demise at the hands of a posse of lawmen who ambushed them in Louisiana, riddling the couple’s Ford V8 with 112 bullets, should be no surprise.

The fully staged concert production was recorded live at Theatre Royal Drury Lane over two performances in January 2022, directed by Nick Winston. It brings Jeremy Jordan, the original Broadway Clyde, together with Frances Mayli McCann, who went on to originate the role of Bonnie in the West End later in 2022.

The opening ensures that, as we flashback to the beginning of their relationship and work our way back to where we began, we are acutely aware of what awaits Bonnie and Clyde. Clyde, filled with self-belief by Jordan, wants to make it big like Al Capone, McCann’s Bonnie is a dreamer who wants to be a star like her hero, the original ‘It Girl’ Clara Bow.

There is something to be said about so unashamedly glamorising a couple who killed twelve people – and asking us to root for them. Returning from his first killing, Clyde’s confession to Bonnie turns into a horny romp in bed. In fact, almost all of their duets are steamy affairs – the entire enterprise running on hormones.

It’s slickly filmed – probably the best-looking live-shot theatre production I’ve seen – adding to the drama of the performances, which are uniformly excellent. They’re hampered by a confused book by Ivan Menchell that struggles to join the dots and say something about these outlaws beyond that central image of two lovebirds plotting their own path through America.

Frank Wildhorn’s music and Don Black’s lyrics spend the majority of the time bordering on cheese, and the rest of the time venturing fully into Cashel Blue territory. Not that they’re not good – part of the allure of Bonnie & Clyde The Musical is that it fully surrenders to its potential status as a ‘guilty pleasure’. There’s no message here but the performances are great, the songs are enjoyable and there are worse ways to while a couple of hours.

Bonnie & Clyde The Musical is available to stream online now