Since watching the film of Chicago many times since its release in 2002, I have wanted to see the stage version of Chicago but unfortunately missed my opportunity to see it when it was in London’s West End. However this week I was invited along to The Churchill Theatre and jumped at the chance to see this energetic musical theatre favourite and I wasn’t disappointed!
Chicago is currently playing at The Churchill Theatre until Saturday 15th October and it started the evening on a fantastic high with All That Jazz, a song which is many of us know and love and is instantly recognisable. Sophie Carmen-Jones (Velma Kelly) makes her dramatic entrance onto the stage, being brought up from beneath the stage with her perfect vocals leaving the audience wanting more.
Shortly after, Hayley Tamaddon (of popular soap Coronation Street & Emmerdale) makes her comical entrance as Roxie Hart and sings Funny Honey, a song perhaps which has never grabbed me as being particularly memorable, however I really fell in love with the style of this song and this can only be due to the strong vocals from Hayley. Having only seen her as a TV actress I was very surprised to see (and hear) that she has a beautiful voice! Hayley was playful and cheeky with the role of Roxy and I felt this suited her perfectly. A great casting for this role.
Another favourite song and one that in particular creates a great connection with the audience is Cell Block Tango. Six cast members including Sophie take to the stage to tell us about their individual and often humorous stories of how they came to be in the Cook County Jail. This is a number that has slick choreography, great energy and humour. This gave the audience the opportunity to hear the range of incredible vocal talent in the cast.
This UK tour of Chicago has a great interest partly due to the casting of Jessie Wallace as Matron ‘Mama’ Morton and John Partridge as ‘shmoozy’ smooth talking lawyer, Billy Flynn.
We’re first introduced to Mama Morton with her singing When You’re Good To Mama, a song all about life ‘inside’ and what she can do for the girls. The song itself is playful and makes a statement but unfortunately the lack of movement from Jessie left me underwhelmed in parts, but the power of her voice shone through.
I previously saw John Partridge in A Chorus Line a number of years ago so knew his performance would be memorable. Thought the evening he had some good numbers to be involved with, although I did feel at times I couldn’t quite hear him or the pace of his dialogue too quick. However, he was playful with the character of Billy Flynn and suited this role well.
A voice that truly stuck out and had me absolutely shocked and amazed including me sitting bolt upright in my seat (and the fact that I raced to tweet them during the interval!) was A D Richardson (Mary Sunshine). The voice was OUTRAGEOUS! I have never heard a voice like it – the audience loved it and whooped and cheered their vocals!
The choreography for the entire show was fantastic – every move performed well and you could see the passion in each performer and the love they have for this show. Whilst the set was minimalist, it suited this show and let the mind of the audience take over.
Chicago was an great from the start and I enjoyed the show all the way through. With a superb soundtrack and lots of fabulous chororeogrpahy as well as some great vocals, this show is sure to leave you with some Razzle Dazzle!
Chicago The Musical continues to play at The Churchill Theatre, Bromley until Saturday 15th October and then continues its UK Tour.