So last night I went along to see the Chicago UK tour at the Orchard Theatre in Dartford. I had previously seen the show in the West End many years prior and I have to say that it is one of my favourite musicals. For those of you who don’t know Chicago is based on real life events from the 1920’s in which nightclub singer Roxie Hart (played by Hayley Tamaddon) shoots her “lover” and along with double-murderess Velma Kelly (played by Sophie Carmen-Jones) they attempt to be cleared from death row with the help of smooth talking, easy on the eyes lawyer Billy Flynn (played by John Partridge).
Since closing on the West End in 2012 after a 15 year run, it was finally my chance to get my fix from the merry murderesses. It was great to walk in to the theatre and see a completely sold out audience, I believe this was mainly due to the celebrity casting but nevertheless, it was still bringing new people into the audience and possibly introducing them to the world of theatre for the first time.
I really do think the casting for the show was nailed on the head perfectly. Hayley Tamaddon gave me a whole different Roxie Hart to what I had previously seen as she put her own spin on such an iconic character and made it her own. Her wittiness and humorous manor really appealed to the audience and the tone of her voice was pleasantly surprising as I had never heard her sing before. John Partridge also portrayed Billy Flynn very well. As his big number is Razzle Dazzle, I feel that the song really gave him a chance to show off his previous dance background and allowed him to have his moment to shine. Previous XFactor winner Sam Bailey sang fantastically and really did go back to her roots playing Prison Warden Mamma Morton. Her acting was also not bad considering that isn’t something she usually does and her american accent was very believable which I feel is a crucial aspect to get right. Velma, who was played by Sophie Carmen-Jones was a little less convincing at the very start of the show but as soon as she got into the role, I truly feel she did a brilliant job at portraying that character and being the sassy murderer come club performer that she is. Overall, the whole ensemble cast strived to give the best performance that they could with killer choreography and many high kicks which just made the whole touring production something certainly worth watching.
As mentioned previously, it is one of my favourite musicals to see mainly because of it’s simplicity and the dark sexy/sassy feel about it. It works because it’s what the performers put into the show that brings it to life. The only props really used are a few chairs so it’s all down to how the cast come together to put on a stellar performance and this touring cast does just that. What’s not to love about such an iconic hit musical that clearly still has so much going for it.
To get tickets for the tour you can click the link below:
Time to get your razzle dazzle on and get your jazz hands ready. Not to be missed.