A capacity audience had a great night out in the Forum for a very young cast production of Bugsy Malone by the new, Gary Power Productions. There were times when I felt some characters were too young to achieve characterisation and then I was very impressed by youthful big-number vitality and some excellent singing, dancing and fine principal characters. There were also several fine performances un-credited in the programme, like the Boxer, the producer and some good cameo auditionees.

A Paul Barry set design was better looking and actually functional and at times was so clunky, it slowed the action down too much as if the work was under-rehearsed. Lighting costumes and sound had similar high points and dodgy low points.

Big production number were glitzy and snazzy as in Bad Guys. So You Wanna Be A Boxer and a rousing Down And Out. The finale was exciting and a young girl in the front row onstage smiled and smiled and sang and danced and brought a magic to the evening.

Mary Dower met us on arrival and showed us to our seats and it was impressive to see young stars, like Glen Murphy and Anne O’Riordan, selling programmes and raffle tickets. Jack Casey was an amiable Bugsy who did well with a lot of dialogue. Megan Power was an impressive Tallulah and her solo, My Name Is Tallulah, got the second act off to a great start.

Claire Beardsley was an exciting Blousy and I loved her confident I’m Feeling Fine and excellent Ordinary Fool. Haley O’Brien was a gem as Fizzy and her song Tomorrow was beautifully delivered. Shane O’Sullivan was a spot-on Fat Sam and Patrick Kervick was a good baddie as Dandy Dan. Dale O’Keeffe shone as Knuckles.

Evan Croke was a droll Irish cop, O’Dreary and Stephen Breen was his partner as Captain, in much needed Comedy capers. Lauren English was Louella and Jack McGrath, Sean Moore, Danny Moore, Luke Power, Darragh Power, Ben Murphy, Luke Nugent, Maikel Vos and Jack Cunningham, played other parts. Patricia Roche did well as Choreographer within a limited space and the Show Dancers led by Naomi Warren were beautiful and beautifully costumed as well. Other dancers were Shannon O’Reilly, Sara Selmia, Megan Maher, Elle Perry and Rachel Bradley.

Gary Power is a proven director of musical theatre but in his ambitious role as impresario and producer he has to get away from Junior School casting and be more rigorous in assembling the product. Waterford has an abundance of Stage School talent and theatregoers need a better family product, especially at seasonal times. The venue is there (when it sorts out proper seat reservations), the talent is there and there is a public who want value for money and entertainment.