One of the longest-running musicals in history, Chicago returns to our shores again, seemingly only a heartbeat since it’s the last production, which was in fact in 2009. As the show-to-end-all-shows, it seems interesting to have it return, in this mounting of the most recent Broadway production. However in our current era of reality and social media superstars and fleeting viral fame, the era of the Kardashians and True Crime don’t seem too far removed from the world of Cook County Jail.
Loosely based on a number of high-profile murders of men by attractive women in the 1920s, the show finds cabaret singer Roxie Hart (Natalie Bassingthwaite) the newest celebrity murderer who’s killed her lover. Velma Kelly (Alinta Chidzey), in the slammer and awaiting her next performance (or should we say murder trial), becomes livid at her waning fame in Roxie’s wake. With prison Matron ‘Mama’ Morton (Casey Donovan) pulling the strings and high-profile lawyer Billy Flynn (Tom Burlinson) on the case (or should we say directing the show), Roxie finds herself on the rollercoaster of infamy in Chicago’s hungry media frenzy.
The show is notorious for demanding athletic levels of dance and song, and the full cast does not disappoint. No movement, look or note is wasted on stage, with an ensemble oozing sexiness from the opening note. The two leads are impeccably cast, with Chidzey’s cool and sass perfectly complimenting Bassingthwaite’s excitable Roxy, and both having equal skill in some of the productions’ most demanding roles. Supporting cast of Donovan and Rodney Dobson as Roxy’s husband Amos are strong, while Tom Burlinson is sufficient as Billy Flynn, yet not outside his normal dramatic and vocal range.
This is an impeccably executed run, perfectly paced for maximum thrill and enjoyment.
FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
The reviewer attended the opening night at the Capitol Theatre on the 27th August, 2019. It is running until the 20th October. Tickets can be bought HERE.