Bonnie and Clyde | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Bonnie and Clyde


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BONNIE AND CLYDE, Bailiwick Repertory. Will Pomerantz, Christopher Eickmann, Andrew Herron, and Doug Ritchie wrote this musical saga of notorious gangster/ lovers Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow for only two performers. But director David Zak has added five nonspeaking actors to play the Barrow gang; they loll about, scowl from time to time, and draw the occasional pistol, but as Zak admits in press materials, their main function is to move furniture around. Throwing them in is the smartest choice he's made in this crisply paced evening, and the first of many additions necessary if this show, being given its world premiere, is to have a future.

By creating a chamber piece, the writers leave Bonnie and Clyde in isolation. It would be difficult to imagine that the outlaws' actions affected anyone but themselves if it weren't for the Barrow gang and the occasional newspaper headline flashed on the wall. Without a well-developed historical and social context, Bonnie and Clyde rattle around onstage pointlessly. And with only the beginning of a narrative, even their tortured relationship is inadequately developed. The songs (by Eickmann, Herron, and Ritchie) are appropriately doom laden and folksy or bluesy. But the numerous anthemic ballads in this 75-minute show are so similar they rob it of any momentum.

--Justin Hayford

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