Mayflower, Southampton – until 20 November 2021
Reviewed by Jo Gordon
I am ashamed to say I have never seen Chicago before, despite its 25 years wowing theatre audiences across the globe. I was aware of some of it’s biggest show tunes but, it is one show that has passed me by….. kicking myself now for not embracing it sooner!
Set in the 1920’s where prohibition caused a rise in crime and jazz was its musical soundtrack, Cook County jail and it’s “ Murderess Row “ became home to many women awaiting trial for murder. Our main two protagonists Roxie and Velma, desperately finding ways to walk away free with the help of Lawyer Billy Flynn. The interesting thing is that all of this is based on a true story which I never realised before and makes interesting reading in the programme!
I’m not sure where the cast get their energy from as it’s non stop show tunes and high kicks set in front of an equally energetic orchestra. Faye Brookes (Roxie) and Djalenga Scott (Velma) bounce off each other beautifully, their vocal performances were impeccable and perfect for their parts. Darren Day (Billy) Sinitta Malone (Mama) did not fail to please the audience and the Soprano singing Divina De Campo’s (Mary) comedic timing was faultless!
All the hit tunes were there, opening with the famous “All that jazz “ against the backdrop of a full Jazz orchestra which was an absolute treat to watch. My personal favourite was “Mister Cellophane“ an emotional performance by Joel Montague (Amos), that will tug at the heartstrings.
A superb production full of wonderful music, dance numbers and comedy to lift the spirits. Sanitise those jazz hands and shimmy along to the show!