Chicago – UK Tour

Providing all the razzle-dazzle that you could possibly wish for, Chicago the hit musical has made its way to the Liverpool Empire Theatre, and it surely does not disappoint!

This production originally directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse and based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins is definitely one to see. Set in the Prohibition era in Chicago, fame hungry vaudeville performer Velma Kelly is incarcerated behind bars, awaiting trial for murdering her cheating husband and her traitorous sister, when a new murderous star on the cell block, threatens to steel away her shine.

Perfectly capturing the roaring twenties, the show from start to finish feels authentic to the original story and had a lot of similarities to that of the film. One thing that was slightly different, was the comical elements were accentuated and more prominent in the stage production, which was a welcomed surprise especially when Roxie took the stand, her physical comedy demonstrated impressive choreography and the comic timing in that section was impeccable.

The staging was quite minimal but equally effective. The simplicity of utilising shadowed lighting that appeared like jail bars, and also singular spotlights as part of the staging rather than overcomplicated set design, meant that all the action was focused on the performers. Additionally, the large band being present on the stage throughout gave off that true authentic jazz club feel. A nice touch, was that the performers often engaged with the band and the audience, a unique addition to the performance that incorporated that immersive experience that can be desirable for an audience.

Chicago has no shortage of raunchy musical numbers to get your heart racing, and the songs are incredibly catchy! The eagerly anticipated ‘Cell Block Tango’ did not disappoint, and with other top hits such as, ‘All That Jazz’ and ‘Razzle Dazzle,’ it kept the audience wanting more. The duet between Velma and Mamma played by Sheila Ferguson was particularly strong, showcasing their great harmonies and their fiery personalities.

Set Up photographs from the International Tour of Chicago The Musical @ King’s Theatre, Glasgow.

Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly, the perfect duo, demonstrated their love-hate relationship, through their battle for innocence and fame and their fight for the spotlight, through a multitude of all-singing, all-dancing numbers and proving that they really are triple threats. Roxy, played by the talented Faye Brookes, made the role her own, unique, and mischievous and her puppetry skills in ‘We Both Reached For The Gun’, were scarily accurate and highly comedic. Djalenga Scott as Velma Kelly, stayed very true to the role and gave the audience a show-stopping performance throughout, and her voice oozed that authentic jazz feel.

The cast had strong performers all round, ensemble working in unison through risqué and provocative dance numbers where performers often appeared hanging from all heights of the staging, sliding down platforms and suspending off ladders.

Adorable Amos, played by Jamie Baughan, won over the audience and pulled on the heartstrings, especially in ‘Mr Cellophane’ which was both endearing and heartbreaking.

Renown classical singer, Russell Watson treated the audience to his impressive vocals, which didn’t disappoint, whilst he swooned the ladies, playing the dashing, yet money hungry lawyer, Billy Flynn.

If you want to be transported to the 1920s and be treated to a fabulous jazz spectacular, than this is the one for you and is not to be missed!

Showing at the Liverpool Empire Theatre, Monday 7th – 12th February 2022

Buy your tickets here https://www.atgtickets.com/venues/liverpool-empire/

About Author /

Laura has a Masters in Performance from Liverpool Hope University.

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