Chicago ★★★★ New Wimbledon Theatre | May 17 - 21, 2022

It is difficult to believe that the story of Chicago is based on real events, but this satire of the American justice system and the cult of celebrity comes straight from the headlines of the Roaring Twenties. The moral is that with beauty and "Razzle Dazzle" you can get away with murder. Kander and Ebb's classic musical is full of great songs and Bob Fosse and Ann Reinking's sublime choreography remains the gold standard for any show. This latest production does them all justice! Director, Stacey Haynes, and choreographer, Gary Chryst, have done superb jobs of honouring the original production, and the cast's excellent performances are worthy tributes to this most theatrical of shows. Djalenga Scott is a wonderfully cynical Velma Kelly, and her singing and dancing are prodigious. Faye Brookes' shines as the faux innocent Roxie Hart, and Russell Watson brings a great voice to the part of sleazy lawyer, Billy Flynn. Jamie Baughan does a fine rendition of "Mister Cellophane," and the production numbers are a pure delight. "Cell Block Tango," "We Both Reached for the Gun" and, of course, "All That Jazz" were simply terrific. Kudos to musical director, Andrew Hilton, and the band who really brought their A-game to the show. Chicago is quintessentially a stage production eschewing cinematic verisimilitude and frequently breaking the fourth wall. It is no mean trick to take the audience seamlessly into and out of the moment, but this production does it beautifully and never breaks the mood. That said, there were a couple of distracting aspects such as some of the hairstyle choices and odd moments of posing, but these are very small points in a show that delivers a first rate production of one the all-time great musicals. The jury is in, and it's an open and shut case: this is a show you should definitely see!

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Tristram Kenton.

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