Review Bonnie & Clyde Sunderland

Review: Bonnie & Clyde at Sunderland Empire

Ready to raise a little hell? We sure are as we’re heading to Sunderland Empire to see a musical production of the thrilling Bonnie & Clyde

Caroline Dask

Journalist at Luxe


Tuesdays are known to be a busy day of the week here at Luxe HQ. Meetings, updates and catch-ups somehow manage to eat away most of the day and before I know it, it’s time for some great food and brilliant theatre.

A quick car trip to Sunderland is always a nice treat and it has become quite a tradition for us to pair food with theatre. This time, we’re heading towards the newly opened Botanist Sunderland, before Bonnie & Clyde takes centre stage at Sunderland Empire.

With our bellies full and minds relaxed, we’re ready for Sunderland Empire. This time it greets us with sunset orange light displays all around the theatre. It’s always such a nice touch to see the venue in harmony with the theme of the evening.

And if those sunset orange lights tell us anything, it’s that we’re in for a fiery night.

Review Bonnie & Clyde Sunderland

Bonnie & Clyde The Musical is the story of two small-town kids from the middle of nowhere who became the biggest folk heroes in all of America. They craved adventure – and each other.

Fearless, shameless, and alluring. This is the electrifying story of love, adventure and crime that captured the attention of an entire nation.

Review: Bonnie & Clyde at Sunderland Empire – The Cast

Alex James-Hatton embodied the charismatic yet tormented Clyde Barrow with alluring composure. His portrayal skillfully navigates the complexities of Clyde’s character. From his charm and ambition to his inner turmoil and moral conflict.

Watching the musical unfold, the appeal of Clyde and his bad-boy behaviour is communicated to the audience perfectly with his incredible stage presence and powerful vocals, full of boyish charm, depth and authenticity. Alex makes for a sympathetic anti-hero and a captivating leading man.

Review Bonnie & Clyde Sunderland Alex-James Hatton

Opposite James-Hatton, Katie Tonkinson shines as the fiery and determined Bonnie Parker. Tonkinson effortlessly captures Bonnie’s fierce spirit and vulnerability, delivering a performance that is both passionate and poignant. Her chemistry with James-Hatton is undeniable. It ignites the stage with electricity and adds layers of intensity to their tragic love story.

Oonagh Cox and Sam Ferriday rounded out the cast with standout performances as Blanche and Buck Barrow. Cox brings warmth and maternal strength to Blanche, infusing the character with empathy and resilience. Ferriday embodies the rugged charm and loyalty of Buck. In this way, providing solid support to the central narrative while also shining in his own right.

The Music

Besides the standout cast abilities on stage and their very authentic chemistry, music is the cherry on top and an element that ties the whole production together.

A number that stands out the most is ‘God’s Arms Are Always Open’ sung by Jaz Ellington in a way that has everyone in the audience holding their breaths. For me, it’s the message of the song; preaching acceptance, hope and companionship, combined with the beautiful harmonies of Ellington the Ensemble that captivates.

Review Bonnie & Clyde Sunderland Jaz Ellington

Daniel Reid-Walters, playing Ted Hinton, Bonnie’s husband, delivers a number called ‘You Can Do Better Than Him’. He brings a raw emotional intensity to the stage, as he grapples with his love for Bonnie and his realisation that she deserves more than the life of crime with Clyde Barrow.

Act Two includes a song called ‘Dyin’ Ain’t So Bad’ by Katie Tonkinson, playing Bonnie. Here, for a moment, she drops her aspirations, her dreams and wishes of becoming a poet and an actress. She faces the life she has chosen with Clyde and the consequences that come with it. Tonkinson’s emotional delivery of the song and her acceptance of death with her loved one is extremely powerful, poetic and raw.

Review: Bonnie & Clyde at Sunderland Empire – What Was Good About The Show?

Going into the musical without much prior research on Bonnie & Clyde I didn’t really know what to expect and allowed myself to learn through the production. And once the curtain rose and I got a taste, I wanted more.

Bonnie & Clyde is one of those shows, once it’s finished, you hurry home to learn everything there is to know about it. Their love story is so unique, so compelling, so raw and real. As Bonnie herself says, love like this doesn’t come twice and somehow it becomes easy to believe that. After all, their love must be incredibly powerful to drive them to commit crimes and immerse themselves in the world of antagonism.

It’s a must-see impactful story of love, lust and despair.

Bonnie & Clyde is on at Sunderland Empire until 23 March, grab your tickets here.