WHO here hasn’t heard of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow?

Arguably the last of the classic American outlaws, the pair carried out a two-year crime spree which saw 12 people killed and only ended when the young lovers – they were 23 and 25 years old respectively – were cut in a hail of gunfire in the woodlands of Louisiana.

Despite the gruesome nature of the whole affair – Bonnie and Clyde are believed to have killed four civilians during their spree, and more than 130 bullets were fired at them during the final ambush which took the pairs' lives – there’s something about it which captures the imagination.

The pair were, by all accounts, young, exciting and good-looking, easily slotting into the American canon as folk heroes. The car they died in is still on display to this day, housed at the Primm Valley Resort and Casino in Nevada, alongside the shirt Clyde was wearing when he was gunned down.

Hampshire Chronicle: Katie Tomkinson and Alex James-Hatton as the titular criminal duoKatie Tomkinson and Alex James-Hatton as the titular criminal duo (Image: Richard Davenport)

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All of this should not, by rights, make for a compelling or romantic musical. But it does.

Bonnie & Clyde, currently at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton, is an absolute triumph, dragging the audience along for the ride of the Barrow Gang’s crime spree while also making the titular criminals likeable. Katie Tonkinson shines as Bonnie Parker, depicting her as a young girl who, growing up in a time of economic hardship and uncertainty, simply wants more - to be famous, to be rich, and to have the man of her dreams.

Another absolute star of the show is supporting player Jaz Ellington as a Preacher, whose voice and raw talent seeped through in every song he sang, making me want to get up and dance in the aisles, especially during his first appearance in God’s Arms Are Always Open.

But the real star of the show was Tonkinson’s opposite, Alex James-Hatton as Clyde Barrow, who seemed to take method acting to a new level by stealing every scene he was in. He seemed to bring unlimited energy and enthusiasm to the role, with some amazing songs (Raise A Little Hell being a standout), and a powerful performance – charming and threatening in equal measure.

Hampshire Chronicle: Alex James-Hatton stole the show as Clyde BarrowAlex James-Hatton stole the show as Clyde Barrow (Image: Richard Davenport)

That’s not to say the show was a complete success though. There were some performers who couldn’t quite reach the notes the show was asking them for. The ending of the show seems quite abrupt as well.

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Don’t get me wrong, the show lets the audience know how things will go for Bonnie and Clyde, starting in a manner similar to Romeo & Juliet by showing the audience the bodies of the deceased lovers and asking “So, how did we get here?” before flashing back through the life of their relationship.

But the musical itself just… ends. Bonnie and Clyde climb into their car to go meet their demise… and curtains down, audience applause, you can all go home. It left me feeling a bit confused, actively asking other audience members “Wait, is that it?”.

All in all, Bonnie & Clyde is a great show about some interesting subjects – one I would heartily recommend. Catch it if you can, it will steal your heart.

Bonnie & Clyde is at the Mayflower Theatre until April 6.