“Still Razzle Dazzle’s”:
**** 4 Stars
John Kander, Bob Fosse and Fred Ebb’s greatest collaboration is there 1975 classic “Chicago” telling the story of Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart two show girls whose love lives leads to murder and their attempts to get off with it thanks to a crooked Lawyer Billy Flynn. The show is a satire on corruption in the administration of criminal justice and the concept of the “Celebrity Criminal”.
This new tour is a revival of the 1996 Broadway Revival production which scored critical success and has tour several times across the UK, following an enforced Covid break the Jazz musical has made its return and proves it Still Razzle Dazzle’s with the best of them.
Djalenga Scott shines as Velma Kelly, with sublime long legs matched by a gutsy vocal, she is joined by coronation street star Faye Brookes as Roxie Hart. Brookes brings a charm and sharp glint to her portrayal and both ladies ooze a sexiness that’s raunchy and intimate when needed. Darren Day shows his maturity as a leading man in the Role of Billy Flynn judging her delivery spot on.
Joel Montague as “Amos Hart” is a triumph of understated playing and gives his Amos real heart and emotion and truly excels in Mister Cellophane. 80’s pop star Sinitta Malone takes on the role of “Mama Morton” she does bring a charm to the role and surprisingly strong musical theatre voice, but does need a tad more punch in the strength aspect to truly deliver the character.
The stand out performance is the sublime Divina De Campo as “Mary Sunshine” with a silky soprano operatic voice and flawless performance she truly steals the show.
The production also has a glorious 14 strong ensemble backed by a 10 piece jazz orchestra (scaled down from previous tours and its noticeable as the music sounds is less full than it once was.) The musicians are a joy and Musical Director Andrew Hilton really knows how to let rip.
Director Walter Bobbie has remained true to the original director Bob Fosse vision but keeps the action fresh and the pace cracking along. The same is true of the Late Ann Reinking’s choreography, what she and Fosse created was sheer dance magic and perfection can never be improved. It’s wonderful to see Chicago’s choreography still in all its Glory.
John Lee Beatty’s set design remains a classic and ultimately puts the show on the shoulders of the cast and not flashy effects and set changes. This is added to brilliantly by Ken Billington’s lighting design which is a triumph making even the darkest shadows work on stage. Rick Clarke original sound design may have gone slightly off track on opening night in Edinburgh with one or two missed cues making performers inaudible. Hopefully that’s just first night jitters. The overall sound was good but could be just a tad louder at the right moments.
Chicago remains a timeless classic that truly is a joyful piece of musical theatre which reinvented the genre and shows what putting performers at the forefront of a show can achieve and that’s why it continues to tour so well to appreciative audiences up and down the country.
So throw on your glad rags and head to the Playhouse for an night out that still very much Razzle Dazzle’s!
David Ian for Crossroads Entertainment Presents, Chicago the Musical, Running at the Edinburgh Playhouse until Saturday 2nd October. UK tour Continues including a stop at the Eden Court Theatre Inverness. For tickets go to: https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/chicago/edinburgh-playhouse/