This sassy, sensational musical is a real winner
Chicago remains the second longest running musical on Broadway and it’s easy to understand why. It’s stylish, sassy and there’s something about Chicago that never fails to razzle dazzle its audience.
Based on a play by a mild-mannered minister’s daughter from Indiana, who as a junior reporter was assigned to cover the trials of women accused of murder, Chicago tells the stories of women on “murderess row”.
Set in a city ruled by gangsters in the glamorous jazz age era of prohibition, the story centres around Roxie Hart, sent to prison for murdering her lover, where she meets fellow murderess Velma Kelly. Both desperate to avoid hanging and engage sleazy Billy Flynn as their defence lawyer
For decades tours of Chicago have been slicker, smoother and seamless and this production is no exception. But what sets it aside from others is the way the speak-easy music is integrated so successfully with a black-and-white Busby Berkeley ethos and brilliant choreography performed so skilfully by the high energy ensemble.
Chicago literally sizzles right from the start when Velma performs the iconic, electrifying All That Jazz. Sophie Carmen Jones is the ultimate Velma. Her vocals, characterization and dance prowess are totally mind blowing. This young actress is certainly the star of the show.
Hayley Tamaddon’s Roxy, although pleasing vocally, is a tad too sugary though lacking the feisty brashness and harsh edge the role demands. For some reason she can’t quite get the balance right between Roxy’s put on innocent girlie side and the brazen harshness of the real Roxy.
As the silver tongued lawyer Billy Flynn, John Partridge captures the archetypal 30’s movie image perfectly whilst A D Richardson, as columnist Mary Sunshine is totally amazing in both voice and character.
On stage throughout the show, the orchestra under Leon Charles, really make the show giving an intimate 20’s feel to the music whilst delivering a few surprises along the way and some wonderful tongue-in-cheek humour.
Chicago with its unforgetable score, despite its dark side, dispenses a wonderful feel good factor that will have you high kicking all the way to the car park.
The musical at The Grand Theatre, Leeds runs until Saturday 26 November