Saturday, 25 June 2016

Chicago | Wolverhampton Grand Theatre

It's been quite a while since I last made it to the theatre and even longer since I've visited my local Wolverhampton Grand Theatre so I was very excited to finally be seeing the UK tour of Chicago after hearing such great reviews of it. While I'm a big fan of the film and the music, I'd never actually seen the show on stage. I'm very pleased to say that it exceeded all my expectations and I would recommend this show to anyone who is after a lively night out.

What's unusual about the stage version of Chicago is that the band are onstage throughout the performance and actually take part in the proceedings of the show, particularly the conductor who often interacted with the characters and the audience. The performance has a very Brechtian feel to it: it's made clear from the start that it is actors telling a story and there's almost no fourth wall in place at all which gave it a very interactive and fun feel. The jazz and swing inspired score oozed passion which was echoed in the choreography that was clearly very precise yet still managed to look so natural and sexy.

Both the ensemble cast and the principles gave excellent performances but for me personally Sophie Carmen-Jones as Velma Kelly really stood out from the second she stepped on stage for the opening number, 'All That Jazz'. Sam Bailey was not scheduled to perform at the show I saw but her understudy Ellie Mitchell had a flawless voice for belting and really embodied Mama Morton's casual yet powerful presence. At the beginning of the show I was not sure how I felt about Hayley Tamaddon's Roxie but her performance grew on me and by the end I found I had come to love this goofy and witty character.

While the show's run at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre is now over, the tour still has plenty of destinations to vist and I would highly recommend getting yourself a ticket to see this sparkly, charisma-filled production. Check out the Chicago The Musical website for a list of destinations and tickets.


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