Photos – Mason Digital Photography
Chicago remains one of the most vivacious, sassy and chic musicals on the stage. Emma Knights’ production is inventive, intelligent, and beautifully presented. The show rises above the conventional with a winning fusion of satire, self-parody and potent performances from a superb ensemble.
Adrian Barnes’ direction is slick and he endows the Kander and Ebb musical with the requisite brass, panache and sauciness. The ambience in the secret speak-easy and unpretentious lighting both add to the show’s seductive quality. It’s not commonplace to find a company with the creative values on display here, and Kerreane Sarti does an outstanding job of modifying Bob Fosse’s primary choreography and putting her own flamboyance, elegance and finesse into something that is a sheer delight from start to finish.
The tale is set in 1920s Chicago - a city where notoriety and stardom are esteemed more than respectability, honour and justice. It’s a town where homicide has become merely a new mode of sordid entertainment.
The plot concerns a woman named Roxi Hart (Fiona Aitken). She shot dead her lover, and, in order to gain her freedom from prison, she obtains help from Billy Flynn (Jeff Lang); the most suave and crooked lawyer in the state of Illinois. But, Billy has other criminals to defend, and one in particular, Velma Kelly (Stefanie Rossi), a femme fatale who is considered to be a celebrity. That is until Roxi gains most of the media attention and garners sympathy for her own case. What ensures is a battle between the “Jazz Killers” for acquittal, publicity and promotion for their future careers in vaudeville.
As girls demonstrating that sometimes crime does pay, Aitken and Rossi are both first-rate. Rossi is particularly impressive as the perturbed Velma whose elite position in the prison is usurped by the resourceful Roxi. Whilst, Lang consummately plays the Machiavellian lawyer with assurance, presence and a winning charm. Of course he uses the old “Razzle Dazzle” to his benefit as he exudes the appropriate measure of slime, ingenuity and smoothness. All three give winning performances and are competently sustained by an admirable ensemble; that includes quality singers, elegant dancers and peerless musicians.
Those seeking a tremendous evening of theatre should make haste to see this triumphant show. This is a sleek, smart and sexy revival that proves that Chicago still knows how to razzle-dazzle-them.
Emma Knights Productions present
music John Kander | lyrics Fred Ebb | book Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse
Director Adrian Barnes
Venue: Secret location to be notified
Dates: 24 – 28 May 2017
Tickets: $48 – $44