He had it coming, He had it coming, He only had himself to blame, If you’d have been there, If you’d have seen it!
Unless you have been in another world you have heard of Chicago mostly in its musical form or if your a movie fan in the Catherine Zeta Jones big screen adaptation. Either way you will have heard the songs from this wonderful musical.
Currently showing at the phoenix theatre we have the leads in Roxie Hart being played by Alexandra Burke, Billy Flynn by Duncan James and Velma Kelly by Laura Tyler and legendary Mazz Murray taking up the role of Mamma Morton.
‘Alexandra Burke was fabulous…she has a natural flair for the stage’
This personally was the third time in my life i had seen it, and this website also attended when Cuba Gooding Jnr launched the return earlier this year.
So just to cover in case you haven’t heard of Chicago before.
Its Chicago, Illinois.1920’s. Tis’ the story of wannabe showgirl Roxie, who in a fit of rage shoots her lover dead. After being caught, she’s taken to Cook County Jail where she meets Velma Kelly of whom has showgirl ambitions of her own and is the current flavour of the month with the press. Criminal lawyer Billy Flynn is taken on to gain an innocent plea,and through manipulation of the press and showing what creating a persona can do to affect public opinion in their favour at trial.
Firstly the staging as always is brilliant. Compact in itself but well utilised. I love that the band are on show for all to see and hear. Cast use the steps and ladders provided well to create scenes and angles whilst performing numbers as well as the whole breadth of the stage in front of the live band.
Musically this is a classic. Kander and Ebb’s reputation needs no explaining and these musical numbers are classics. ‘All that Jazz’ ‘Cell Block Tango, When you’re good to mama’, ‘Razzle Dazzle’ and ‘Mister Cellophane’ all create mood. Excitement, Energy and even in the last of those ‘Mr Cellophane’ sympathy for Amos Hart played by Paul Rider. Even if you haven’t seen the show you have heard these songs at some point.
Alexandra Burke was fabulous. Having already been on stage most recently in the revival of Chess she has a natural flair for the stage. Her voice, is not in question at all. Still as good as we came to know it for her pop career, and even better live. Alexandra belts out these songs with a passion. Her emotion and cheekiness was what i was impressed by in this show.
Duncan James had something to live up to in the role of Billy Flynn. The role having already been played by Cuba Gooding Jnr and Martin Kemp. Both ooze natural charisma. Our previous review had Cuba’s singing as inconsistent however there was no such issue here as Duncan true to his pop roots was able to belt out his songs in this show. Most importantly playing this questionable lawyer did he have the charisma to sway a jury? That jury being us? Why yes he did. Suited up in black he strode around stage, adjusting his cuff links drawing us in. Duncan James can be our lawyer any day!
The whole cast are superb in supporting also. Paul Rider who returns to his role as Amos Hart executed his humour brilliantly and we are easily led to sympathise for this madly in love pushover. A.D Richardson has fun in his role as reporter Mary Sunshine. Laura Tyler is a more than able side kick in Velma Kelly bringing attitude and verve to the role.
Mazz Murray a musical legend storms it as Mamma Morton. So we all want to be good to Mamma!
This show for me has lost none of its jazz, and is as good as i saw it approx 15 years ago for the first time! Get tickets while you can to see Alexandra Burke and Duncan James whist you can. Buy tickets here through our affiliate link by clicking here