Bringing the razzle dazzle to Brisbane this November, Chicago is now playing at the Lyric Theatre QPAC. A true New York City institution, Chicago has everything that makes Broadway great: a universal tale of fame, fortune and all that jazz; one show stopping song after another; and the slickest dancing in town.
Chicago follows the stories of Roxie Hart (Natalie Bassingthwaite) and Velma Kelly (Alinta Chidzey), two music and dance stars hoping to make it big on the Vaudeville stage. Meeting in the most unlikely of places, far away from the glitz and glamour of the showbiz scene, the two must compete for the attention of the press and the public. Now the battle is on to see who can give the best performance to save their careers, and their lives.
Bassingthwaite and Chidzey work well to balance each other; Chidzey’s ferocious portrayal of the strong, independent Velma the perfect counter for the demure Roxie. Performing separately or together, the stars of the show deliver a commanding performance. As if the role was written just for her, Casey Donovan is outstanding as Matron “Mama” Morton. She perfectly executes the accent and movements which give this character the presence to fill the stage, and her singing is strong and confident. Special mention must go, of course, go to Rodney Dobson who charms as the affable Amos Hart, with Cellophane Man an obvious crowd favourite.
The set is simple, providing a blank canvas for the spectacular dancing which accompanies most songs. The orchestra performs live from the stage, allowing the audience to appreciate and celebrate the talent of the musicians who are as integral to the success of this musical as the actors and dancers. And it is the music which makes Chicago so unforgettable. From seeing the movie and the performance when it toured Brisbane many years ago, I thought I was familiar with some of the songs. Yet every song is one you will recognise, and the urge to sing along may overwhelm you (as it did the people sitting beside me!).
Chicago is now playing at the Lyric Theatre, QPAC until 7 December. Tickets can be purchased here.