Saturday 30th July 2016. After a week with no show I’m glad to be back at magnificent Millenium Centre for two performances of Chicago. Can’t wait to see this show, I’ve never seen it before (not even the film) so have been looking forward to this all week. Chicago features the fabulous Hayley Tamaddon as Roxy Hart, Sophie Carmen -Jones as Velma Kelly, John Partridge as Lawyer Billy Flynn and Sam Bailey as Mama Morton.
Set in Chicago in the late twenties Roxy kills her boyfriend and ends up in jail with Velma and Mama Morton. There she meets the famous lawyer Billy Flynn and a whole new adventure begins. From the start of this fabulous show we have some exquisitely performed dance routines from the whole cast. I have to say I was gobsmacked throughout the show with just how good this was. Everyone was so in step with the next, it was just awesome. WOW that’s as much as I can say.
The singing was just so good from the start. All that jazz began the act with the superb Sophie as Velma, and what a voice she has. As we meet Roxy we have another superb voice in Hayley Tamaddon, I never realised her voice was so good. Sam Bailey (again such an amazing voice) really belted out her songs with wild applause. And John Partridge, well what to say, his voice, especially that note in the song ‘we both reached for the gun’. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a note sung live for that amount of time without a breath, with several key changes thrown in, absolutely breathtaking (sorry about the pun), you had to be there to appreciate it. I don’t think I will ever hear that again for a while (yes I will, I’ve got another show tonight). Towards the end of act one the story rolls on with Velma singing and dancing to ‘I can’t do it alone’ (which was totally amazing, and then the fabulous duet with Roxy and Velma (my own best friend), before Roxy tells everyone she’s expecting a baby and act two approaches on that bombshell.
Act two begins with the Entr’acte and the amazing band, fixed on stage throughout, with some pretty inventive conducting from an exuberant band leader, really kicking off this act with a bang. Moving on with Roxy’s husband (played brilliantly by Neil Ditt) and that famous song Mr Cellophane. I must admit to a small tear during that scene, (along with the hanging scene as a Hungarian female prisoner is hung for her crimes). A few moments of reflection as we move through emotions. Such an amazing show follows on with Velma takes the stand and razzle dazzle, brilliantly sung (and danced) by Sophie and then John. Another fabulous scene is the Velma and Mama Morton called ‘Class’ before the finale hits the scene, where Roxy and Velma finally make it with a double act. A good ending with the band leader introducing all the cast, which I thought was a good gesture and something I wish other shows would do, because the ensemble are so good and need a mention for all their hard work.
With a fixed set throughout and the band on stage all show, this made a really slick show,full of comedy, great songs and fantastic dancing. I just wish I could have seen this show a lot more times on this run, but I will definitely be seeing more of this brilliant show on its next visit to Cardiff.