Chicago sashayed into His Majesty’s with one simple aim… to razzle-dazzle them and then some.
In a touring production slicker than slick lawyer Billy Flynn’s pomade, the show served up a reminder of why this musical has stood the test of time.
It’s a non-stop procession of one show-stopping tune after another with spellbinding choreography infused with the spirit of the great Bob Fosse.
However, opening night wasn’t as smooth as the audience might have hoped with two principals – Russell Watson and Djalenga Scott – unable to appear as they were unwell.
But the beauty of Chicago being an ensemble show was the ability of understudies Liam Marcellino and Michelle Andrews to switch up seamlessly into the roles of Billy Flynn and Velma Kelly.
Faye Brookes put the raunch into Roxie in Chicago
They slotted effortlessly in alongside headliners Faye Brookes of Corrie fame as Roxie Hart and Three Degrees star Sheila Ferguson as Mama Morton, to ensure this visual and musical treat rolled out like a well-oiled machine.
That said, this Chicago was absolutely owned by Faye, as the adulterous murderer Roxie who sees notoriety as a path to fame and fortune in gangster-ridden Chicago in the 1920s.
She put the raunch into Roxie, with a stunning voice and flawless choreography that meant she lit up the stage every time she was in the spotlight – which was much of the time.
Faye’s take on the song and dance routine Roxie – with her “boys” – was a masterclass in showmanship and sensuality, worth the ticket price alone.
If that wasn’t enough, her sense of comic timing was a joy. The sequence where Liam’s delightfully sleazy Billy Flynn uses Roxie as a ventriloquist’s dummy in We Both Reached For The Gun was laugh-out-loud funny.
Chicago’s song and dance numbers were mesmerising
However, Chicago doesn’t belong to one character alone, with its colourful cast of grifters, criminals and the occasional innocent caught in the crossfire – a wee nod to Jamie Baughan for his likeable Amos Hart.
It was at its best as an ensemble work, with moments like Velma and the company getting proceedings into high gear from the outset with All That Jazz, or the Busby Berkely infused All I Care About with Billy and the “girls”.
These song and dance numbers were mesmerising, synchronised to within an inch of their lives cleverly combining grace, sexuality and a cheeky sense of humour, delivered by a gifted cast all working as one.
Having the orchestra in the thick of the action on the ingenious and beautifully lit set gave this talented bunch of musicians a chance to shine, too.
They were as much a character in the show as Billy et al all while belting out John Kander’s wonderful jazz score.
Chicago is one of the all-time classics of musical theatre for good reason
Chicago is one of the all-time classics of musical theatre for good reason… unforgettable songs, brilliant dance numbers, fantastic performances, and a wicked sense of humour.
The version taking up residency at His Majesty’s until Saturday delivers all that jazz… and then some.
For more information and tickets for Chicago at His Majesty’s Theatre, visit aberdeenperformingarts.com