Last night it was back to the Churchill Theatre in Bromley for the opening night of Chicago.
Within the roaring 1920s of Jazz and Liqueur Chicago, unknown chorus girl Roxie Hart is up for murdering her lover. Wishing to avoid prison and a guilty result, she manages to hire the go to leading criminal lawyer Billy Flynn who is renowned for his cunningness for women on murderess row. Roxie soon becomes the media’s star and soon learns that murder is merely a form of entertainment, to which she soaks up willingly and desperately ensures that it stays that way by any means! Fellow cell mate, Velma envious of Roxie’s fame as it is taking away from her notoriety – being she is also up for murdering her husband and sister, confides in ‘Mama’ Morton the prison matron but comes to realise that in the end they both need each other to fuel their own ambitions.
Chicago has just recently hit 25 years on Broadway and still today remains a musical favourite in the UK, continuing to wow audiences and especially last nights full house! It is understandable as to why it is creators Kander and Ebb’s most loved show, a great story line with dark and comedy combined, it’s amazing sexy, Jazzy and presumptuous score with songs including ‘Cell Block Tango’ ‘Razzle Dazzle’ and of course ‘All That Jazz’. But ultimately my favourite part of this musical will always be the amazing slick choreography by American dancer Bob Fosse, no matter how many times I see this production I am blown away by the cast members who display his work excellently with such detail in every pose, kick, and Jazz hands. It truly is mesmerizing to watch and paired with the musical score, it is a match made in heaven.
The limited amount of set also, allows you to focus on these particular element to the show but also allows the band conducted by Andrew Hilton to step into the limelight for the audience to enjoy. They really become a character in the musical themselves and display great entertainment for the audience to enjoy and celebrate their many musical talents.
Stepping into the leading ladies stockings tonight were Djalenga Scott as Velma and Faye Brookes as Roxie, both excelled within their character for the well known sexy duo. What I particularly enjoyed from them both, was their lightness as quirkiness toward the humour side of their script. Their rendition of the famous dance/musical number ‘Hot Honey Rag’ was perfectly displayed with no step out of time. Supporting the ladies was Darren Day as criminal laywer Billy Flynn and Sinitta Malone as Matron ‘Mama’ Morton. Darren by far has to be my favourite Billy Flynn I have seen, it was like he was made to play the role and had the charisma to suit the character but also his voice matched his solo’s brilliantly which made each number very enjoyable to watch. Sinitta also was very well suited for the role, however I felt at time her energy could of been a bit more within her songs and acting.
Joel Montague as Amos Hart Roxie’s husband, I could not fault his portrayal of the misunderstood, unnoticeable character. Although unwanted by majority of the cast, the audience immediately fell for him and sympathising with him throughout his many appearances. He was just so innocent that you couldn’t not! I also have to mention Daniel Clift stepping into the role of Miss Sunshine, who really displayed some amazing vocals that fooled many but again provided great entertainment within the role!
With that all being said, the cast tonight were all outstanding ensuring that the audience got the show they greatly deserved and making sure that the love of this musical will not burn out anytime soon. It really is a musical that stays with the times, but also displays some amazing classic dance numbers that all will enjoy watching! In the past, I commented that with a show you see numerous times you want to see something different naïve as I was (I don’t know what I thought I was writing?!?), viewing the musical again last night made me realise that as long as you have a cast that excels at telling the story – keep it the way its supposed to be, a classic!
Playing at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley until Saturday 27th November, for all ticket information head to their website here. The show will then continue on its international tour, for all dates and ticket information go here.