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Phil Hopkins
Arts & Travel Editor
@philhopkinsuk
4:00 AM 12th October 2021
arts

Chicago’s Delightful Sleaze Leaves Its Mark

That sleazy, no-holds barred homage to Bob Fosse and Kander and Ebb – Chicago The Musical- will have Al Capone turning in his grave if only to give the Windy City’s chief mobster enough elbow room to applaud and scream encore!

This latest production at Bradford’s Alhambra – part of a national tour – had ‘em standing in the aisles and quite rightly so with two stunning performances from Faye ‘Corrie’ Brookes as Roxie Hart and her amazing anchor, the leggy, lippy, talented Djalenga Scott as Velma Kelly.

What the show lacks in scenery it more than makes up for in staging, superb lighting and Ann Reinking’s choreography which is in the style of that master of movement, Bob Fosse, the man who changed Broadway forever with the likes of Chicago, Sweet Charity and The Pajama Game’s, Steam Heat.

This latest take on the original 1975 musical – a cousin if not a twin of that other Kander and Ebb triumph, Cabaret - is a joy to watch.

Its characters are timeless as are so many of its numbers – All That Jazz, Cell Block Tango V, Mister Cellophane and Razzle Dazzle.

And, bringing them to live was a stunning cast of dancers and some class act principles including that once naughty boy, Darren Day, a little older round the jowls but a wonderful sleaze bag lawyer in the shape of Billy Flynn.

Chicago is the story of 1920’s America and the Jazz Age when Prohibition was the law but alcohol still flowed in the city’s speakeasies faster than the Nile in flood.

It was a time when gangsters ruled supreme and the guilt or innocence of a woman could be determined by how glamorous she looked in a courtroom full of sexist, male jurors.

And this musical shines a light on the era perfectly, capturing the spirit of a Chicago that was out of control until Kevin Costner and Sean Connery came on the scene to clean it up as The Untouchables!

However, I didn’t quite get the appearance of Divina De Campo as reporter Mary Sunshine other than to boost ticket sales, and Sinitta Malone as jail warden, Mama Morton, lacked sass and missed an opportunity to fulfil her character’s potential.

And yet, the man who should have vanished without trace, Joel Montague as Amos Hart – Roxy’s ‘invisible’ nobody husband - was perfect with his rendition of Mister Cellophane, wringing screaming appreciation from a packed house.

This is a great show that has stood the test of time and is well worth a cashless ‘tap’ or a few of your hard-earned dollars! You have until Saturday.

Chicago
Alhambra, Bradford
Until October 16th