Well, doesn’t Chicago give ’em the old Razzle Dazzle? The star-studded show takes the stage by storm every time, and its run at Leeds Grand Theatre will be no different.
The show follows glamorous, fame hungry murderesses Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart as they compete to see their names on the front page of the papers. Along the way we meet key keeper Matron ‘Mama’ Morton, sleazy but oh-so charming lawyer Billie Flynn and Roxie’s lovable but ignorable husband Amos. The characters in Chicago are beautifully crafted, each song giving us greater opportunity to get to know them more. But, of course, a great showtune doesn’t always make a great show. The cast have to deliver the goods and, in this touring production, they most certainly do.
Russell Watson is, of course, one of the country’s greatest singers and it’s a real treat to see him in a character-based role. He shines as Billy Flynn!
Our leading ladies are Djalenga Scott as Velma Kelly and Faye Brookes as Roxie Hart. The two women are undoubtedly talented and a total triple threat – their acting, singing and dancing is always on point! But there’s something missing, whether that be their chemistry with each other or simply their chemistry with their respective roles. It isn’t something you can really put your finger on, but I would have adored to see some like Tanisha-Mae Brown in one of the roles – she is involved in many of the ensemble numbers and her charisma and presence is tangible throughout the show.
The set, as always, is superb. It really puts the focus on the live band who provide that driving, full-on energy throughout. It’s so unusual for a show to put the band front and centre, allowing them to interact with the action, and it’s one of my favourite things about the show for sure. Musical Director Andrew Hilton steals the show for me. His cheeky energy and the joy that just radiates from him brings something undefinably brilliant to the performance.
Chicago is a show jam-packed with sex appeal, toe-tapping showtunes and absolute Vaudeville-style belters. You’ll know most of the songs, from All That Jazz to Cell Block Tango, and each one is choreographed and performed to perfection. If you haven’t booked your tickets already, don’t miss the show while it’s here in Leeds until 14th May!
Photograph credited to Tristram Kenton