Musical theatre debut time debut for Coronation Street star

It’s musical theatre debut time for Catherine Tyldesley (Coronation Street, Strictly Come Dancing) – and she can’t wait.
Bonnie & Clyde ©The Other RichardBonnie & Clyde ©The Other Richard
Bonnie & Clyde ©The Other Richard

Winner of Best New Musical (What’sOnStage Awards 2023), Bonnie & Clyde the Musical will take to Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud stage from February 27-March 2 as part of the production’s first-ever UK tour. Other dates include Mayflower Theatre, Southampton, April 2-6; Theatre Royal Brighton, July 23-27; King’s Theatre, Portsmouth, September 10-14 – all hot on the heels of two hit seasons in London’s West End at the Arts Theatre and the Garrick Theatre.

Catherine is delighted to be part of it: “I haven't done musical theatre before but I sang for many, many years. I've done my own albums a while ago and music has always been a huge part of my life but I just got really busy with film and TV and I was really lucky with film and TV. But the whole time I was thinking at some point I wanted to do some musical theatre. It just had to be the right musical. It had to be something that I really felt a connection with if I was going to leave my family and be away. And then Bonnie & Clyde came along.

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“You see the names Frank Wildhorn (Jekyll & Hyde, Death Note) and (Oscar winner) Don Black and you just know that it is going to be great. I listened to the music and I just thought it was going to be amazing and I was not wrong. The first song I listened to Now That's What You Call A Dream, I was listening with my husband and he just said ‘You've got to do this show!’ Every song is a corker. I read the script and that's a corker too, and the fact is it's really the most incredible crime story ever. It is pretty epic.”

Catherine is playing Blanche Barrow, wife of Marvin ‘Buck’ Barrow, Clyde’s brother: “I think it is pretty accurate historically. There are some slight changes for entertainment value and entertainment purposes but it's pretty much based on what actually happened. I'm playing the wife of the older brother of Clyde and my character kept diaries. She wanted preserve a record and most of the information comes from her diaries. They were in depth and you get a really good sense of who she was and who Bonnie and Clyde were and what was happening. She was very descriptive. And you can match up other accounts, what the police were saying. But it's a really remarkable record. It was the Great Depression. It was morbid and they didn't have anything and it was almost like they were Robin Hood heroes for quite some time.

“My character wanted to put across her truth and the truth of her husband and all the characters. And I'm not saying that what they did was right. They were murderers but when you look at the story, you're looking at two great love stories, Bonnie and Clyde but also Blanche and her husband.

“And she was not a bad person. She was very devout in terms of her faith and she really tried to encourage the others to be good. She knew that what they were doing was very, very wrong and she tried to steer the others away. She was the moral compass. The crime that she was arrested for was just being involved with the Barrow gang and right from the off she begged her husband to help Clyde away from crime.”

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