25-30 April 2016
Reviewed by Linda Pickford
I certainly enjoyed this rendition of the delightful musical CHICAGO showing now at the Princess Theatre in Torquay. Right from the start you are drawn into the story, one of sex and violence in 1920s prohibition America and based loosely on real life murders.
We arrived early enough for a bracing but sunny walk along the seafront to be greeted by the always pleasant staff. Torquay is really very lucky to have such a professionally run theatre with shows of great calibre and ability. Also by arriving just after 6pm we were able to find a car parking spot on the roadside. Please note that parking is payable for 24 hours in Torbay but after 6pm it is cheaper.
The whole story of murder and corruption is played as in a vaudeville act with action taking place in Cook County jail. The two main female killers were Roxy Hart (Hayley Tamaddon) and Velma Kelly (Sophie Carmen-Jones). Roxy killed her lover and tried to convince her adoring husband Amos that she had shot a burglar and potential violator. Amos agreed and told the police that he had done the shooting in defence of his wife only to discover the full story of adultery later. Velma killed her husband and sister when she discovered them in bed together. Both women ended up in Cook County jail with other women waiting for their murder trials. They all have their “reasons” for committing their crimes and cannot really understand the full significance of their actions or the possible consequences including being hanged.
The Matron ‘Mama’ Morton played by Sam Bailey was a very corrupt official who would help out the inmates so long as she was suitably recompensed. She would organise telephone calls, clothing and put them in touch with influential people provided she received a fee. She also arranged for the lawyer Billy Flynn (John Partridge) to act for them but only if they managed to raise $5000 for his professional costs. The girls then tried to outdo each other to become celebrities in the newspapers before their trials and hopeful acquittals. Roxie outwits everyone by announcing that she is pregnant and thereby gains public sympathy.
Do go and enjoy this lovely performance of Chicago and revel in the singing and dancing, I know that the audience did last night. There was much clapping and cheering throughout the show. I especially liked Neil Ditt as Amos and his lovely rendition of Mr Cellophane. Also Mary Sunshine (A D Richardson) surprised us all. The band members were an entertainment all by themselves and I hope they enjoyed the evening as much as I did.
Tickets cost from £15 to £44.50 (plus £4 transaction fee).
Chicago the Musical is at the Princess Theatre in Torquay until 30 April 2016. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0844 871 3023.
Princess Theatre, Torbay Road, Torquay, TQ2 5EZ | 0844 871 3023