Hayley Tamaddon – Roxie Hart
Sophie Carmen Jones – Velma Kelly
John Partridge – Billy Flynn
– Matron ‘Mama’ Morton
Neil Ditt – Amos Hart
AD Richardson – Mary Sunshine
Venue: Theatre Royal, Newcastle
Date: Monday 1st August 2016
I must first start off with a little bit of background and my total love for Chicago the musical, because I feel like I need to explain that this is THE show that started off my love for Theatre. Which was in fact thanks to the film version, which I was massively obsessed with that it then transferred to theatre. I actually saw it for the first time 12 years ago on 4th August 2004 (if I had noticed I would have booked a ticket for that date) so close to seeing it on my anniversary with Chicago the Musical. I certainly hold it near and dear to my heart, which also makes it tough to watch in the sense of high standards and expectations!
I am happy to say that this production is absolutely fantastic and brilliant from start to finish, I massively enjoyed it. I thought it was best to get that in nice and early in the review. Sophie Carmen Jones opens the show wonderfully with ‘All That Jazz’ which I consider to be one of my all time favourite songs. I actually do really love that the stage set up hasn’t really changed over the years as gives the audience a chance to appreciate the band (who work very hard throughout the show). Along with the black costumes, which are very skin tight for both men and women, not forgetting Bob Fosse’s style still shining through when it comes to the dancing.
It probably helps me appreciate seeing the show live again as it really has been years now and I have already made my mind up that I am going to see it later in the year when it returns to the North East at the Sunderland Empire. But also with it being on in Newcastle for another week I am tempted to go back again.
Casting wise something that confused me (and I haven’t been able to find any answers online) was Mama Morton, I had originally read that Sam Bailey was going to be in that role until the first week in Newcastle. But had seen via twitter that she had not only left the show but didn’t seem to be performing recently. Then Jesse Wallace is due to start from 8th August, but this now seems to have changed on the website? Not that I had any issue with our Mama Morton, great stage presence and performance of ‘When Your Good to Mama’.
As Billy Flynn we get John Partridge who is very well known after his stint in Eastenders and he certainly grows throughout the show and looks very comfortable on stage singing and dancing. Working very well with Hayley Tamaddon, who is breathtaking as Roxie nailing all of her numbers with the singing and dancing, not forgetting to mention her performance in the acting parts as well, massively impressed with her!
The scene stealing certainly came from AD Richardson and I must mention that he was also tweeting me during the interval which was very cool! In a role that is certainly great to watch the reactions from the audience members who have not seen the show before. I love those moments in theatre! The ensemble are great too and hardly have any total off stage time as they sit in chairs at each side waiting for the next time they are needed to dance, prance and move about the stage in true Fosse fashion. Jazz hands and the trademark hats are still to be found.
I do find now with having listened to so many different recordings of the show over the years that I really do love and appreciate each and every song from this timeless musical. Considering it was set in the 1920s and started from 1975 yet still has so many messages that are still relevant today really shows just how special it really is, that’s Chicago!
*I stupidly did not get a programme therefore do not have all of the cast information if anyone can help me out (not online either)