Being a fan of the film Chicago and all of the songs included, I was excited to see it performed on another platform when it came to The Mayflower Theatre this week. Curious and eager, I was also honestly somewhat cynical as to whether those performing it on stage would be able to live up to the high expectations I had. But I needn’t have worried.
The play kicked off with a pretty blonde lady in stockings, underwear and heels strutting onto the stage to introduce the play. With the flirty manner in which she stood and spoke, she definitely set the vibe. Glitz and glamour, sexuality and sass, the play was full of innuendo’s and dry comments between the characters, especially Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly, which the audience obviously loved.
The play is based on the true story of Roxie Hart, played by Emmerdale star Hayley Tamaddon, who was a female jazz singer that killed her lover in the 1920s after he tried to leave her. Roxie is paired up with slick, smooth talking defence lawyer Billy Flynn, played by Eastenders actor and Big Brother Contestant John Partridge, who promises to get her off the charges and save her from death by hanging. It’s obvious from the beginning that Hart lusts after fame more than her freedom and to go back to living her boring life with her husband.
My favourite song was ‘Cell Block Tango’. The murderesses residing in Cook County Jail are all awaiting trial for the murder of the husbands and lovers in their lives and tell us in this song how and why they killed them. Also known as ‘He Had It Coming’, the song has hilarious one-liners trying to justify the murders such as “some men can’t hold their arsenic” and “he ran into my knife… he ran into my knife ten times”. Six women dressed suggestively, singing about killing their lovers and dancing in a provocative manner was far more entertaining that I ever could’ve imagined.
Another favourite song of mine was ‘We Both Reached for The Gun’. Billy Flynn was quite literally using Roxie Hart as a puppet in an attempt to train her on what to say at her upcoming trial. With hilarious facial expressions from Tamaddon, and Partridge taking on a ventriloquist’s role with her as his dummy, the scene was entertaining, comical and downright impressive.
Others that need to be praised for their brilliant contributions to the play are Sophie Carmen-Jones as the sexy, sassy and spicy Velma Kelly and X-Factor winner Sam Bailey as Matron. Both brought their characters to life with their spot on Chicago accents and remarkable singing. The orchestra was also flawless, in tune and on time throughout.
If given the chance, I’d highly suggest seeing the West End show. Though with the light swearing and provocative behaviour it exudes throughout, I’d suggest leaving the kids at home.
Chicago runs at Southampton’s The Mayflower Theatre until 12th March 2016, tickets available here: