Reviewed by Deborah Mackenzie
After 537 days of locked doors and everything put on hold; The Kings Theatre, Glasgow opened with red carpet, piper and the razzle and dazzle we have always felt and saw before the era of lockdown. As each group of people entered, lots of chatter and excitement in their voices, drinks and snacks bought as we all settled in our seats eagerly anticipating the show: CHICAGO.
CHICAGO, based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins and tells a story based on true life in the 1920’s in Chicago. At a time when Chicago was run by gangsters and jazz-age glamour and prohibition. Cook County jail had over a dozen woman on ‘murderess row’ – all had their story to tell. The newspapers knew their stories sold papers as people could not get enough of these tales. The readers believed that the woman symbolised everything that had gone wrong with society.
As it was a patriarchal society, an all-male jury would rarely countenance the conviction of a pretty woman. They were easily persuaded that her actions had special explanations, like the pressures from a man or helpless intoxication. Standing in front of the court, the accused would go above and beyond to look as gorgeous as possible.
Two women caught the attention of Watkin’s and Chicago was born!
The show opens with the beautiful, Velma Kelly bragging about how she murdered her husband and her sister when she found them in bed together. She then welcomes the audience to tonight’s show, All That Jazz, and the Chicago Broadway Musical razzle and dazzle begins!
Roxie kills her lover when he threatens to leave her, so she convinces her husband Amos that he was a burglar and Amos agreed to take the blame. Once Amos discovers who the man was, he realises that Roxie had been lying to him and the blame returns to Roxie. Roxie is sent to the woman’s block where several women accused of killing their lovers, among them is Velma, who is getting help from the Matron ‘Mama’ Morton, who has a system of taking bribes, has helped Velma become the media’s murder-of-the-time and is promising her freedom and a big return to vaudeville.
Roxie has stolen the limelight from Velma, both in the press and her lawyer Billy Flynn. Billy took her case before he realised that Amos did not have the money to secure his services, but he turns the case into a media circus and hoping to off set the loss by selling the proceeds in an auction. What proceeds is a story of lies, embellished truths and her ultimate freedom.
The show flowed like liquid, as it started as a trickle it grew into a gush of stunning dancing, music (all played live on stage) played in a crescendo and on cue to each song that told the story of Roxie and Velma. The costumes were sensual and fitting of a love story in a time of sexual mischief, cabarets, and corruption. The dances, seductive and dark flowed together as one or as a couple or group. Totally breath-taking!
If you haven’t seen Chicago… you are missing out on a glorious show that you will want to see again and again.
Chicago is on from Saturday 11th September until Saturday 18th September 2021
Tickets cost from £13.00 plus a £2.85 transaction fee
For more information or to book tickets please visit Chicago Tickets | King’s Theatre, Glasgow in Glasgow | ATG Tickets.
297 Bath Street, Glasgow, G2 4JN