Social Media

Bronco Billy The Musical - Charing Cross Theatre Review

Reviewed by Mark Johnson
Tickets were gifted in return for an honest review

Buckle up for some colourful as Bronco Billy's Wild West Show rolls into The Charing Cross Theatre bringing along with bundles of laughter and some truly larger-than-life characters.

Tarinn Callender as Bronco Billy and Emily Benjamin as Antoinette Lily. Photo by The Other Richard

The musical is based on the 1980 film which starred Clint Eastwood in the titular role. The film's screenwriter Dennis Hackin returns to write the book for the stage with Chip Rosenbloom and John Torres providing the music and lyrics. Hunter Bird directs having also directed the original run of the show in LA in 2019.

A comedic Western follows Bronco Billy and his nomad troupe of performers who are struggling to make ends meet with life on the road. A dream Hollywood audition sees the group head across America in the hope of making their dreams a reality. 

Alongside this, you have Antoinette Lily, the daughter of a chocolate tycoon who has mysteriously died but bequeathed his fortune to his daughter. Step forward Antoinette's stepmother, who is next in line to inherit the money, and sets out to trigger a clause in the contract and rid the world of Antoinette for good.

The fates, of course, bring together Billy and Antoinette who together make each other's dreams come true fighting away the villainy along the way.  The good vs evil story doesn't necessarily feel that original and the script doesn't always hit the heights but it's undeniably campy silliness that completely sweeps you up and along for the ride.

Tarinn Callender excels as Bronco Billy, he is a charming leading man and an instantly likeable hero. He is matched perfectly with Emily Benjamin's excellent Antoinette Lily, who is fiery, feisty and wonderfully well-spirited. The chemistry between the duo is believable and warms the entire piece and the pair's vocals are tremendous throughout. 

Bronco Billy's troupe are superbly played with Karen Mavundukure's majestic vocals as Doc Blue and Henry Maynard as clown Lefty Lebow standing out. Helen K Wint as Lorraine is a lovely warm presence and matches well to Aharon Rayner as Joe Eagle while Josh Butler is a great watch as Lasso Leonard James. You could easily imagine yourself on the road with these guys.

Photo by The Other Richard.

All good stories need a memorable villain, step forward Victoria Hamilton-Barritt as the devilish stepmother Constance who steals every scene. Hamilton-Barritt completely hams it up in every moment and is having a great time doing so. She is aided by Chris Jared as her hapless lawyer and Silas Wyatt-Barke as son John Arlington who both take part in the plotting of Antoinett's deminse. Alexander McMorran revels in the role of hitman Sinclair St Clair who despite a number of near misses never manages to complete the job. Jonathan Bourne has so much fun as Sam Lily and others.

Sometimes the silliness levels are increased beyond the point they need to be and they can distract away from the scenes around them but largely it's a hoot throughout. Musically the style of country pop fits well into the world with a couple of standout solo numbers and ensemble numbers that keep the piece moving.

Set designer Amy Jane Cook impressively fits a large bus on a revolve that rotates to reveal different locations throughout. Sarah Mercade’s costumes and Craig Forrest-Thomas’s hair, wigs and make up add to the visual impact. Nick Richings throws numerous glitter balls into his lighting design which sets the scene from the moment you walk into the auditorium. The bright effective lighting theming carries throughout the production. John Bulleid’s illusions cleverly use the space and props to visually capture moments from sharp shooting Billy’s plate tricks to moments involving fire. 

The message of the piece is one of ‘never giving up your dream’ drives throughout with also love and stardom leading the way. With a sensational cast that elevate the piece further than it possibly deserves, you are guaranteed to leave the theatre with a smile on your face. Sit back, relax and just enjoy the ride. It’s undeniably good fun. 


Bronco Billy The Musical plays at London’s Charing Cross Theatre until Sunday 7th April. Tickets are available from

Chris Jared as Edgar White Lipton, Victoria Hamilton-Barritt as Constance Lily and Silas Wyatt-Barke as John Arlington. Photo by The Other Richard

Post a Comment


Theme by STS