I’ve just had a great time sorting through all the Bugsy photos and 1920s style photos that I collected when we did our own production of Bugsy Malone a few years back. We had so much fun doing that show. In fact, there’s nothing like a musical with a live band, dancing, singing, a great set and glitzy costumes to really create that amazing feelgood factor you get in theatre. I think we had a 9-piece band, a fantastic set (see the board!), a great choreographer, excellent singers and .. I had a brilliant time directing. I do remember that when it came to sorting out the costumes though we ran into problems. I asked locally (we had a large drama store serving the county with costumes for youth groups and schools), and they politely refused to costume the show (that really took me by surprise). Splurge, of course, is the problem! No one wants their costumes splurged and how can you do Bugsy without the mess? I looked around online and yes, there were places that would supply costumes but they were WAY out of my budget and comfort zone. We had a big cast – of course we did, you can’t do the show without! Also, I wanted really good costumes – boas, beads, sequins, glamour, fringed dresses – everything! The choeographer went to the West End to see Chicago and came back with large ostrich feather fans on the agenda. So, we decided that Offbeat Theatre (run by myself & my partner Jim), would costume the show … (yes that did include large ostrich feather fans) and Jim would make the splurge guns that Offbeat would finance. So, over the months that folowed we made costumes and bought 1920s style everything I could find on Ebay! Well, to be honest I didn’t actually make any costumes – I’m not safe with a pattern and a pairs of scissors, but I knew someone who could and did. In the end we had a huge amount of costumes and an enormous bill that we carefully ignored until it was all over. We had a tearful standing ovation (me and the choreographer – we were the tearful ones) on the last night and then it was all over.
So we ended up with a spare room full of costumes and a rack of splurge guns in the workshop. We though that maybe we should try and hire them out to another company to try and get a few pennies back and a local school duly obliged by putting Bugsy on the following year. To be honest, after that we didn’t look back. Our main business is websites, so an online presence was easy. So now, as well as writing, playing theatre games, doing shows and blogging we also run a very busy Bugsy Malone hire company. We have 3 sets of costumes and guns all whizzing around the UK and Europe to make productions go smoothly and take away all that ‘crikey … where are we going to find THAT many costumes we can splurge’ stress. The gun sets always include the backfiring gun for Knuckles as well – so important to get Knuckles well and truly splurged! And now we have a bigger spare room positively bursting with all sorts of costumes and loads of guns in the workshop….
So …if you’re thinking of putting this excellent and very messy show yourselves you can browse through our pinterest board and get ideas for set, props and costumes. If you like you can hire our costumes and splurge guns!
Take a look at our dedicated BUGSY HIRE website if you’re planning to embark on the Bugsy journey!