Theatre

Chicago At The Alexandra, Birmingham Review

TICKETS TO SEE THE SHOW WERE GIFTED TO THE REVIEWER AND GUEST FOR THE PURPOSES OF WRITING THE REVIEW.

Reviewed by Julie Hayward

This is a musical that I have wanted to see for some time and oh my goodness I was not disappointed. Chicago must be the sexiest musical around.  As we took our seats at the Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham the stage set was simply dressed by a gilded frame around a blacked-out stage and in one corner sat an iconic chair with a bowler hat. The company took to the stage and began to perform ‘All that Jazz’, with the classic line ‘Rouge your knees and pull your stockings down!’ It was both familiar yet exciting, thus setting the tempo for the delightful night of entertainment which lay ahead.

The company effortlessly sang and danced the superbly choreographed routines with Djalenga Scott as Velma Kelly at the forefront of the storytelling in the opening number.

All were dressed in black seductive lingerie that didn’t seem out place in this version of the 1920’s at a time when Chicago was ran by gangsters and illegal jazz clubs flouted the prohibition laws of the day. Based on a true story, the first play was written by a journalist Maurine Watkins in 1926 who had reported on female prisoners, literally ‘getting away with murder’.

The cast were dotted with well-known faces, a high standard of performance was given by all. Faye Brookes, from Coronation Street fame played Roxy Hart our likeable villain, Faye’s acting skills really enhanced the character. Darren Day played Billy Flynn, Roxy’s Lawyer treating us to his musical talents with a memorable performance of ‘Razzle Dazzle’ and Sinitta Malone played the jails Matron ‘Mama’ Morton, performing the wonderful ‘When you’re good to Mama’.

The set remained blacked out for much of the show, but the movement of the actors took us seamlessly from scene to scene, the supporting cast played various roles, which made the story very easy to follow. The simplicity of the set was fully utilised with ladders and stage levels.

The dancers moved as one, they are all clearly very talented, we were treated to number after number performed in a dance style made synonymous by Chicago, originally choregraphed by Bob Fosse, re-created for today’s audience by Gary Chryst. There were elements of modern dance and more classic styles such as the Charleston. The accompanying music was provided by an incredible orchestra who were seated on stage the entire time, just fabulous.

The slightly dark humour of the storyline is only enhanced by the songs and dance, this musical has been around for many years, and I can certainly see why and I am certain it will continue to wow audiences for many years to come.
As a fan of musicals this is one, I hadn’t seen before, yet I knew all the songs. I feel I have seen the musical numbers performed on television over the years on various variety performance type shows but seeing them all bought together to tell the story has been amazing, I really didn’t want it to end.

Rating: 5/5

Tickets cost from £13(plus £3.65 Transaction fee)

Chicago is at The Alexandra Theatre Birmingham from 25/1/22 to 29/1/22

For more information or to book tickets visit www.atgtickets.com or call the box office on 02072061174

The Alexandra Theatre, Suffolk Queensway Birmingham, West Midlands. B5 4DS

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