Chicago The Musical Review

Hull New Theatre – until 13th November 2021

Reviewed by Catherine McWilliams


I was totally razzled, dazzled and blown away by this production of Chicago. From the minute the Orchestra played the opening bars I knew I was in for a superb night at the theatre and oh how right I was, Broadway had arrived in Hull!

Way back in 1978 I was lucky enough to see the first British production of Chicago at the Sheffield Crucible and it was incredible, so fresh and original compared to other theatre productions. So, I am in total awe of the fact that 43 years later I sat in Hull New Theatre and was stunned by this production’s freshness, uniqueness and sheer genius. Everything about this performance just shone out with class.

Chicago The Musical is set in the 1920’s, an era in Chicago of jazz, gangsters, prohibition and general seediness. It is set in Cook County Jail and tells the unlikely tale of Roxie Hart (Faye Brookes) who has murdered her lover, but sets out with the help of the slick lawyer Billy Flynn (Darren Day) to clear herself of the murder. Roxie has an intense rivalry with her cell mate Velma Kelly (Djalenga Scott) as they vie for publicity. Also added into the mix is the stories of the other cell mates. With lyrics by Fred Ebb, music by John Kander and the book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, Chicago is based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins.

Make no mistake Chicago The Musical tells a dark tale but John Kander’s wonderful music will have you singing along in delight, until you suddenly realise what the lyrics are. Kander and Ebb have created such a clever musical illusion that masks the darkness of the situation.

The entire production has no scenery, the Orchestra are on stage throughout on a stepped dais and the action unfolds in front of them with clever lighting and sometimes the use of a chair. To be able to totally enthral a full theatre and convincingly tell the story with so little shows the immense talent of the entire cast.

Djalenga Scott as Velma Kelly opened the show with a fabulous rendition of “All That Jazz”, her singing voice is superb. She has superb timing and musicality and her dancing was fabulous, she was the lynch pin of the production.

Faye Brookes gave Roxie Hart exactly the right amount of deviousness, sassiness and downright duplicity. Her singing and dancing were outstanding and her performance as the ventriloquist dummy in “We Both Reached For The Gun” was off the scale.

Darren Day’s Billy Flynn had exactly the right amount of slick deviousness with a touch of sleaze. The performance of “All I Care About” with the Girls and their fans was great fun. His rendition of “Razzle Dazzle” with the full company was excellent.

Mention should also go to Sinitta Malone as Mama Morton, delivered in a quiet and calm fashion, she really has an outstanding singing voice. Joel Montague as the downtrodden and put-upon husband Amos Hart was just right and I loved his performance of “Mister Cellophane”.

The ensemble is outstanding from start to finish, their dancing is incredible, the choreography superbly delivered – tight,sharp, stylish sexy and sassy!

The music drives this show and Musical Director Andrew Hilton and his orchestra were outstanding. What a treat it was to have them play us out, except of course most of the audience stayed to hear them and give them the huge roar they so richly deserved.

There is no part of this production that is not outstanding, the music, the singing, the dancing all come together to produce a complete work of genius. Fresh, original and totally unique Chicago provides the ultimate razzle dazzle, it is a piece of perfection.