Chicago tells the story of "Murder, greed, corruption, exploitation, adultery and treachery. All those things we hold near and dear to our hearts". And so starts the show.
Having only watched the movie, I was keen to see where it all began with the theatre production. The show is based on the 1926 play of the same name, by reporter Maurine Dallas Watkins and the criminals she reported on.
The set is very simple, the costumes are minimal and with the band right there on the stage there is nowhere to hide in this production. It relied heavily on the raw talent of the actors and musicians and it delivered in all aspects. The choreography was spot on, the voices were powerful, what props they had were used economically, the songs were catchy- everything was well executed. I also have to mention the lighting as this played a significant part in the all over clean and crisp look of the stage and crew.
My favourite character by far has to be Jessie Wallace as Matron 'Mama' Morton. Although her stage time was less than that of Velma Kelly, Roxie Hart and Billy Flynn's, she used the time she had in front of the audience wisely. She belted out the iconic lines of 'When you're good to mama' like she owned the stage. It was a pleasure to hear her sing as I have only seen in her EastEnders, so it made a change to see another side to her talents.
Sophie Carmen Jones was the epitome of sexy in her role as the adored yet unsympathetic Velma Kelly. She tackled the physically challenging scenes with confidence and poise- she made it look easy- when we all know it's not!
Hayley Tamaddon had the audience laughing with her natural comedic charm as the fame hungry Roxie Hart- she was the perfect dose of comic relief in what can be a very dark production at times.
My word can John Partridge hold a tune- he really put everything into his solo pieces and the audience took a sharp intake of breath when he performed the last note of 'Razzle Dazzle' which he managed to hold for a unearthly amount of time.
Neil Ditt had everyone feeling suitably sorry for him as Rosie's husband Amos in his rendition of 'Mister Cellophane' and most tragically of all he didn't get his exit music.
The most memorable scene by far had to be the 'Cell Block Tango'- I couldn't wait to see it and thankfully, I didn't have to wait long as it is the third song in the production. With nothing but a spotlight and a chair- each of the sassy women revealed their murderous ways and it was nothing short of spectacular.
The whole production was slick, sexy and sassy. The monochrome costumes and set gave it a very modern, minimalist feel, which left space for the actors to shine under the spotlight. And they did- every single one of them.
Chicago is certainly one I'm glad to have ticked off the list. It is the second longest-running show in Broadway history, after Phantom and in my opinion, is a once in a lifetime must see.