Friday, 20 December 2019

Chicago, Dec 19, 2019 ****

Lyrics by Fred Ebb, music by John Kander, book by Fred Ebb & Bob Fosse
Based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins
At State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne, until Feb 23, 2020 
Reviewer: Kate Herbert
This is a short review and it is NOT published in Herald Sun. KH
Alinta Chidzey, Jason Donovan, Natalie Bassingthwaighte
It's saucy. It’s sassy. It’s sexy. It’s Chicago, and it’s back on stage in Melbourne with a celeb-studded cast and plenty of seductive and vivacious dancin’ and singin’.

This Australian production of Kander and Ebb’s musical, is based on the New York production and the choreography captures the essence of Bob Fosse’s unforgettable, pulsating, almost indecently sensual choreography.

Alinta Chidzey is a stand-out as the spicy, feisty murdering Velma Kelly. Chidzey is a genuine triple threat – singer, dancer, actor – and her rendition of All That Jazz with the ensemble was almost a show-stopper – at the start of the show.

Natalie Bassingthwaighte is pert and impish as Roxy Hart, the newest murdering bimbo in gaol and Velma’s rival for public sympathy generated by outrageous lies from their publicity machine. As well as being a television celebrity, she can dance and sing!

Leading their ‘fake news’ campaigns is Billy Flynn sheister and merchandiser, played by Jason Donovan (Yes, that Jason Donovan!) who depicts Flynn as less the grubby, grasping, grinning and villainous game show host and more as the smarmy, smiling and acquisitive, corporate CEO.

Casey Donovan, with her great stage presence, a bold and versatile voice, wows the audience as Matron Momma Morton, singing When You’re Good To Momma. Momma will do anything for her inmates/girls – for a price.

Cell Block Tango is always a highlight in Chicago and the six women, led by the inimitable Chidzey, make their six chairs blush with their suggestive choreography and the audience cheer at their versions of the various murders they have committed.

Chicago is a hoot, and this is a fun and mischievous version.

by Kate Herbert

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