Chicago opened at The Mayflower last night and boy did it show the audience the old razzle dazzle. The musical, which is an adaptation of the play by Maurine Watkins, takes us back to years of the Jazz Age. The story follows the character Roxie Hart, played by Faye Brookes, who, after killing her lover, finds herself in the Cook County Jail.
This production is full of slick, sexy dance routines and belting voices and the performance is made 100x better by having the presence of the orchestra on stage. The stage was set around the orchestra with characters often interacting and moving between the members - at one point, Roxie took a moment to show the conductor her name headlined in the papers. Having the orchestra so involved in the performance intensified the songs and sound effects throughout.
Faye Brookes, best known for her role as Kate Connor in Coronation street, had an air of mystery to her character with the occasional cheeky remark. Darren Day showed the fun and witty side of the character Billy Flynn and made the audience really warm to him. Velma Kelly, played by Djalenga Scott, had the slickest dance moves I have ever seen in a show and stole the show with her rendition of I know a girl.
I can’t go without mentioning Cell Block Tango – a firm favourite with anyone who loves Chicago and they will not be disappointed with this performance of it. It was electric, and Velma and the girls almost managed to convince me that their husband’s had it coming. The execution of the choreography in this number is exquisite, so precise. The timing is perfect!
If you get the chance, go and see Chicago while it is in Southampton (15th – 20th November). You’re in for a show full of slick dance routines, amazing vocals, sexy costumes……and all that jazz!
Tickets available at www.mayflower.org.uk
Review by Gloria Hill