Everybody loves Bugsy.
Boxing promoter Bugsy Malone is the titular character of the 1976 musical gangster satire flick that inspired Vernon Secondary School’s performance of the same name from May 29 to June 2.
Under the tutelage of drama instructor Laurie Anne Lorge, the students have been hard at work on Alan Parker’s creation since the beginning of the semester.
“Bugsy is this guy who’s not affiliated with the gang, but he’s the guy everybody knows,” said Grade 11 drama student Colton Day who brings the comedic lead to life. “He’s just trying to win over a girl.”
Enter Blousey Brown, Malone’s love interest and aspiring Hollywood hotshot.
Brought to life by Grade 11 student Raquel Enns, Brown and Malone simply want to live the good life, but shenanigans at Fat Sam’s speakeasy keep interrupting their dreams as Malone falls further into the crime life.
Bugsy Malone follows the typical mafia film formula except for one key ingredient: it’s purely comedic in nature. Set in Prohibition-era New York City, Bugsy Malone features intentionally exacerbated Yankee accents and guns that opt for cream or water instead of lead.
“We’re making fun of those old gangster movies,” laughed Enns. “I really like a satire of anything. I like making fun of anything.”
“It’s fun. People need to be entertained. People need to laugh,” he said.
Part and parcel to that mockery and a catalyst for that laughter is Day’s over-the-top accent.
“It’s awful, but the worse the accent is the better,” Day said, unintentionally slipping in and out of his Yankee tone. “And you just get stuck in it.”
Beyond the laughter and satire of the play itself, Enns and Day said that working with Lorge and the other students on the production has been a labour of love.
“Everyone this year has great chemistry,” Enns said.
Comprised of 26 people, including four tech specialists and one stagehand, the class is also responsible for putting in overtime to create the entire set.
That camaraderie and in-depth involvement, they said, is what makes high school theatre a great introduction to the scene.
“Once you jump into VSS drama, you’re ready,” Day said. “She (Lorge) gets the best out of all of us.”
And it’s a formula that has worked, Day said, noting that VSS drama students performed in the recent productions of Lights of Broadway’s Beauty and the Beast and Big Apple Production’s Jesus Christ Superstar.
“I just love the concept of when you’re at a play or concert and you get that feeling of holy crap,” Enns said of her love of the craft.
With numerous hours of hard work behind the production, Enns and Day agreed that Bugsy Malone is one for the VSS books.
“If you’re going to see any productions at VSS, this is the one to go to,” Enns said.
Bugsy Malone runs at the VSS Theatre on the Hill May 29 to June 2 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 each. For more information, call 250-545-0701.