In the hands of Kander, Ebb and Fosse you’re more than guaranteed to have a sparkler of a show on your hands and this was abundantly clear in the most recent UK tour of Chicago. Playing at Wolverhampton Grand until 25 June, the show is a sure-fire audience pleaser.
Exploring the notion of celebrity criminal, this sharp, satirical musical comedy is packed with iconic show tunes. Not only that, there is no room for error as everything takes place right in front of the audience’s eyes. The band is revealed centre stage as we’re transported to mid-1920s Chicago and Velma (Sophie Carmen-Jones) introduces the audience to the evening’s events with a fine performance of All That Jazz. Carmen-Jones shines as the murderous vaudevillian; with sublime vocals she was matched well with Hayley Tamaddon, who was a little firecracker as Roxie Hart. Tamaddon’s acting shone through, with a strong voice to match; a particular highlight was her brilliantly funny interpretation of Funny Honey.
John Partridge made for a swish Billy Flynn. Aside from some moments where lines were lost in the first act, it was a swagger-filled performance. A standout moment came in We Both Reached for the Gun, which was superbly executed by the whole company.
The endearing Neil Ditt made for an adorable Amos Hart, whilst Sam Bailey illustrated her striking versatility as 'keeper of the keys', Matron ‘Mama’ Morton - from belting out a fantastic rendition of When You’re Good To Mama to a beautifully harmonised performance of Class with Carmen-Jones.
Another unforgettable performance came from A D Richardson as Mary Sunshine, from vocal range to comic timing; it was a superbly executed cameo.
A big mention must go to the perfectly crafted choreography (Ann Reinking) it was truly impressive and with a vibrant band it really brought the show to life.
If you have a night free, it's well worth a visit to the Grand, you will leave flailing jazz hands and humming a damn good tune!
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