In homage to the classic Alan Parker musical “Bugsy Malone”, local theatre group W-WADS (West Wickle Amateur Dramatics Society) has announced that their spring production will be a stage version of gangster epic “Goodfellas”, featuring exclusively child actors.
‘It’s going to be quite a challenge,’ says producer Colin Henry VIII. ‘They always say never to work with children or animals. Well I’m not working with both, but having an entire cast of kids is going to be just as difficult.’
12 year old Tyler Bleau plays hit–man Tommy De Vito, a character portrayed by Joe Pesci in the Martin Scorsese directed classic. ‘One of the hardest scenes is when I get whacked by Vinnie and Tuddy before I am supposed to be getting made,’ says Tyler. ‘I have to fall forward on to the floor without putting my hands out, on account of I get shot in the back of the head with a .45. It’s quite difficult to do. The director’s always busting my balls over that one. What? You think you can do it better, ya f*ckin’ stutterin’ f*ck you?’
‘I think I’ll be alright if I can get all my lines learnt,’ says 11 year old Noah Crates who plays toupee salesman, and mafia hanger-on, Morrie Kessler. ‘People have asked if it’s difficult for me as an English schoolboy to identify with a middle aged Jewish mob associate from 1970s Brooklyn, but I had a speaking role in “Aladdin” last year and I’ve never experienced medieval Turkestan either,’ he explained. ‘I mean, what do I look like? A goddamn schmuck on wheels?’
Set designer Michelle Tuke is responsible for mocking-up the numerous gangster hang-outs featured in the play: ‘Recreating the “Copacabana” from that period was an amazing experience. Obviously it was made all the more difficult by the fact we had to make all the tables and chairs a suitable size for the kids.’
Star of the show Craig Meeks plays real life supergrass Henry Hill, whose life story the film was based on. ‘It was great getting the lead,’ he says. ‘The biggest role I’ve had so far was as a spider in “Noah’s Ark” for the school play. Leigh Jones is playing Spider in this one though. He isn’t an actual spider though, he’s a person who’s called Spider who gets shot in the foot by Tommy after he gets the drink order wrong. And then gets shot again, but dead this time, when he tells Tommy to go f*ck himself.’
Producer Colin is expecting the play to be a big success. ‘Bugsey Malone was a big hit so I don’t know why we haven’t seen all child casts more often.
‘I think I’m going to stick with Scorsese for the next production as well and do an all child version of “Taxi Driver”. Although I’m not sure what to do about the Jodie Foster part because she was a kid herself. So will she have to be played by a baby? I’m not sure. I’ll have to have a think about that one.’