Monday, 17 December 2012

Chicago the Musical: Theatre Review

The original production of Chicago first played on Broadway in 1975 with Chorography by Bob Fosse; it then opened at the Cambridge theatre in London in 1979. The show was revived on Broadway in 1996 with the production opening at the Adelphi Theatre in 1997; it then transferred to its original home (The Cambridge Theatre) in 2006 with it recently transferring again to the Garrick Theatre.The musical still has the original essence that Bob Fosse wanted, thanks to Ann Reinking's choreography. The show is timeless, the mix between the modern aspects of the show and the classic 1920s elements are wonderful.
The orchestra were absolutely fantastic, perfectly placed in the middle of John Lee Beatty's simple but beautiful and fitting set. But the thing that impressed me the most about this production was the brilliant lighting design by Ken Billington, absolutely incredible. I don't take notice of things like lighting design usually but in this production it was stunning. The production which re-opened on November 7that the Garrick Theatre is staring Ugly Betty star, America Ferrera. America brought a new flavour to Roxie Hart, the role has been played by so many people that it could be hard to find new life in her but she done this fantastically. She played the role with sweetness and a beauty that made you love her; I do wish she could have played the role with a little more sass though. America has a good voice (however may need to work on her movement) and although she did have a strong cold, still sounded good.
Amra-Faye Wright is a perfect Velma Kelly, no wonder she has been used in so many Chicago productions (Including Broadway, South Africa and Japan). She brings a bitchy but sexy side to the role. Darius Campbell was good as Billy Flynn, having previously played the role it is obvious he has settled comfortably back into the character however I was a little bored and I almost felt like he made no effort. Jasna Ivir was a stunning Mama Morton, fabulous voice with a Diva but motherly portrayal of the role, James Doherty and R. Whitehead as Amos Hart and Mary Sunshine were also good additions to the show.
A powerful ensemble pulled the show together, each person had their own identity but still worked together as a team to support the principle actors and carry the show along.
Cell Block Tango was the best part of the show for me, it will remain (in my opinion) as one of the best musical numbers ever to be staged. The lighting of the scene, the choreography, and the way the actresses played each character was all brilliant. This classic production will carry on to be an audience favourite and will impress people for years to come.
The show not only appeals to the theatre loving audience, but also to the people who never go to the theatre. It's a safe show to buy tickets for, you know what you're getting but it's also a very clever show. Coming from an actor's point of view, I can see the work and thought that has gone into the show; I really don't think this show gets enough credit for that. This stunning show is a classic, if you haven't seen it already; go catch it at its new home (The Garrick Theatre).

Rating: ****

Chicago is currently playing at the Garrick Theatre

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