Last night I went along to The Grand Opera House to see the touring production of Chicago gracing our iconic stage. I didn't venture to the Gods though from what I could see the house was packed and rightly so.
Some time ago I seen the west end production from memory I wasn't blown away therefore I was curious to see how my opinion may or may not altered after around 5 years.
The curtain went up to reveal the orchestra on stage rather than down below, and the conductor eagerly waved to greet the audience. They remained on stage throughout , engaging with us and various points. I really enjoyed the montage section, as it concluded they were rewarded by an eruption of applause.
Chicago is set in the 1920’s during prohibition and covers how women accused of murder, and who were probably guilty, might escape the ultimate sentence with the help of lawyer, Billy Flynn. He was, played by Liam Marcellino, I discovered that Liam in fact was the understudy though I am not certain to whom, regardless I thought he played it perfectly, he was so engaging and cheekily confident as one was expect from a Lawlor
Roxie was due to be played by Coronation Street favorite Faye Brookes though due to illness Billie Hardy stepped in, can I just say WOW, from the moment she appeared I got Lady Gaga vibes she absolutely owned the stage.
For those unfamiliar with the movie or long running musical the story follows Roxie and her nemesis another prisoner, Velma Kelly which was played by Djalenga Scott, Scott was a dream to watch it was unsurprising to read about her vast experience and training in the prestigious Italia Conti.
The two female leads were perfectly managed in terms of vocals, dance and acting ability.
It was good to see 80’s pop singer Sinitta play the part of Mama Morton, I won't lie having not heard Sinitta sing in a while I was somewhat nerves to hear and also see how she would deal with the role, after seconds onstage any worries were averted, her voice was splendid and so much stronger than I would have ever expected. She sang ‘When You’re Good to Mama’ with power, sass and fun.
There were some lovely smaller parts in the show, Amos Hart the devoted husband to Roxie portrayed perfectly by Jamie Baughan then there was Mary Sunshine one of the reporters, forgive me If I am mistaken though I don't recall there being a drag twist with the character in the movie etc though I am so pleased the characterisation, singing etc. was hilarious, bravo B E Wong you had us in kinks watching you.
Budding thespians will be super familiar with the iconic choreography from the late great Bob Fosse, all the performers on stage stayed true to his steps, he would have been so pleased.
In all I had a great evening and appreciated it so much more this time around, my hat goes off to the triple threat talent treating our eyes and ears with such charisma