Chicago @ the Alhambra Theatre, Bradford – ‘highly recommended’
April 8, 2016
The curtains open to a ten-piece orchestra which are positioned centre stage. All the musicians played remarkably well and the entertaining musical numbers carried the show along seamlessly. Although they were an integral part of the show the staging was somewhat compromised as this didn’t allow for scene changes.
Chicago the musical is set in the 1920’s when Chicago was run by gangsters and Cook County jail was filled with women charged with murder. Sam Bailey convincingly plays Mama Morton the prison matron on the make. Her experience as a prison officer makes this a perfect casting choice. Her superb voice carries the notes remarkably well and most notably in the song ‘When You’re Good to Mama’.
Velma Kelly is played by Sophie Carmen-Jones and the opening number ‘All That Jazz’ is a sensational combination of raunchy, sensual and remarkably skilled dancing both by Velma and company. Although the scenes were undefined in terms of, sense of place, the direction was still cleverly executed as each scene linked to the next narrative and slickly supported the next.
The role of Roxie Hart was effortlessly played by Hayley Tamaddon and demonstrates both the persuasive yet cunning sides of her personality. The humour is dark and the cast are also dressed in black, so it is a welcome relief when we see the beautiful display of ostrich feathers in the cleverly choreographed ‘razzle dazzle’ dance with Billy Flynn and the girls. Flynn is the unlikeable lawyer smoothly played by John Partridge, who fleeces the women of thousands of dollars to get them off death row.
All said Chicago is a strong, fast paced well produced show with highly skilled performances by the whole cast and is highly recommended.