The legendary musical becomes LegenDerry as it visits the Millennium Forum - but is it really all that jazz, or not enough razzle dazzle?
"Murder is a form of entertainment", says a key character at one point, and it holds true in 1920s Chicago as much as anywhere else, where Roxie Hart (Ali Bastian, almost three years from being robbed of what would have been a deserved Strictly Come Dancing triumph) finds herself in jail for murder along with numerous other women, including singing sensation Velma Kelly (Tupele Dorgu). The rest of the show primarily focuses on Roxie, Velma and their attempts to clear their name, with the help of notorious criminal lawyer Billy Flynn (Stefan Booth, recently of Eastenders).
This is the sort of show where, no matter where you look on the stage, there's almost always something for the eyes and ears to savour, be it the acting, singing, choreography or orchestrations. As far as major musicals go, Chicago is as close to an interactive experience as you can get without actually having to leave your seats and dance on stage; both orchestra and audience find themselves involved in the "swing" of the production numerous times throughout the evening, whether they are clapping along to "All That Jazz" or "Roxie" (the character, not the song!) is chatting up the bandleader!
|Ali Bastian... a "smouldering" Roxie|
Ultimately, Chicago is at its best when it maintains a breezy, satirical tone – when it tries to be serious, as is the case with the song "Class", the spirit of the show has been so frivolous that we have little reason to care. Indeed, the only character we truly care for is Amos – and he gets one song! Fortunately these "grim" moments are few and far between, and the audience will leave the theatre having learnt a thing or two about the power of song and dance... and a little bit more.
(Photos courtesy of the Millennium Forum.)