Pies fly in college gangland

JACOB CHANDLER
Last updated 12:58 06/06/2014
Sani Sakalia
MARTIN DE RUYTER/FAIRFAX NZ
ARMED AND READY: Nayland College students ready for action in the college’s production of Bugsy Malone.

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It's a gangster's life for Nayland College students taking part in their school production Bugsy Malone.

Set in 1920s Chicago, Bugsy Malone tells the tale of two rival gangs taking control of their neighbourhood with splurge guns and cream pies.

Director Keran Brady said pupils initially struggled to get into period character.

"We've done lots of playing with walking," she said. "They have to be gangstery. Not 2014 gangsters but 1924 gangsters."

Brady said she wanted to have a big cast this year involving all year levels of the school.

The cast is made up of 73 students with another 10 backstage crew.

The slapstick use of shaving cream pies provide a technical challenge to rehearsals as the shaving cream gets everywhere.

"You can't practise with it," Brady said. "It gets all over everybody's costumes."

Bugsy Malone, played by Simon Wynne-Jones, is a gang leader in his Chicago neighbourhood where three murders have occurred.

Simon said it took a lot of work to get his "Brooklyn-Italian" accent just right.

"It took a bit of time but I think I have it down now."

He said he had to make sure his lustful tendencies looked convincing on stage.

"I've done a lot of work with Keran to make sure Blousy looks like a love interest."

Bugsy meets Blousy Brown, a reject from Fat Sam's club played by Caitlin Gladstone. The two begin to fall in love before madness ensues between rival gangs.

"She's a bit meek, very quiet. Bugsy always lets her down," Caitlin said.

Kate Lovell, who plays Tallulah, a show girl at Fat Sam's club and girlfriend of the owner, said she enjoyed developing her character as it was fun to play a totally different personality.

"My character is a flashy, flirtatious, showgirl singer."

With two weeks to go Brady said the cast and crew were all very excited, and the show was going to be very different from what had been done in previous years.

This is Brady's second time directing a Nayland production after doing Little Shop of Horrors in 2012.

  • Bugsy Malone, Nayland College, June 27 to July 2. Book at Nayland College office.

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