Put together by the same team who added songs to their stage version of The Great Gatsby last year, Linnie Reedman (writer and director) and Joe Evans’ (composer and lyricist) musical for Ruby in the Dust adds little to the drama of the shooting and looting of the infamous 1930’s outlaws.
Maybe that’s partly because the only casualties we see are the members of their gang who got variously burned and blasted rather than any of their victims who included a trail of dead law enforcement officers left in their wake as they shot their way across America during the Great Depression.
Some attempt has been made to get inside the heads of the main protagonists – Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, his jailbird older brother Buck and his wife Blanche, plus the youngest hot-headed recruit WD Jones.
But learning that former waitress Bonnie always wanted to be famous, bashed out poetry on her typewriter and bought her mother a bunny rabbit doesn’t go far enough to compensate for the lack of chemistry between her and Clyde, or of any real sense of their life on the road.
The musical numbers are okay, though rarely memorable, but the projected images of the final shoot out show just how determined the cops were to eliminate these enemies of the public who were still only in their mid-twenties when a barrage of bullets put an end to their indiscriminate exploits.
Kings Head Theatre, Upper Street, N1 1QN
till 21st September