Sunday, January 27, 2008
I've been razzle dazzled
Last week I went to see Chicago: The Musical at London's Cambridge Theatre and totally loved it. It's been three days and I'm still singing the songs in my head. I loved the choreography, the costumes, the music, the singing, the atmosphere. And to think I don't even like jazz!
Chicago is the story of Roxie, a chorus girl who has murdered her lover. While in prison, she meets Velma, another murderess, and the two women try to outshine each other in the media, while fighting for the services of sleazy lawyer Billy Flynn. After several trials and tribulations, both get acquitted and team up to form a nightclub act which they hope will keep them in the public eye.
The story sounds a bit lame, even by musical standards, however the beauty of Chicago isn't in the story but the storytelling, the music and, most importantly, Bob Fosse's iconic choreography. It's a feast for the senses. Or, as a Time Out reviewer says: a biting satire on fame, capital punishment, and all that jazz, Chicago delivers its high-heeled kick on every front; as slick, sleek and sassy a West End musical as anyone could hope for.
I couldn't agree more. Sitting back, listening to the music and watching the dancers was simply a pleasure. The theatre was packed although this isn't by any stretch a new show - it's been going for more than 10 years already. Luckily, we had seats in the third row and it felt as if we could almost touch the performers. What a treat - and all for a modest £25 (35€) GILT offer.
Duncan James was the male lead and did a great job as Billy Flynn. Amra-Faye Wright was a stunning Velma, Bonnie Langford a good, solid Roxie, Paul Rider a realistic Amos and Brenda Edwards (of X-Factor fame) simply superb as prison warden Mama Morton. The whole cast were brilliant and felt comfortable in their roles. OK, I'm not a big music connoisseur, but I couldn't fault this show and would gladly watch it again with any of the same actors, particularly Amra-Faye Wright who I thought was outstanding. So good, in fact, that I just can't imagine anyone else playing Velma ever.