Josefina Gabrielle – Velma Kelly
Sarah Soetaert – Roxie Hart
Cuba Gooding Jr – Billy Flynn
Ruthie Henshall – Matron ‘Mama’ Morton
Paul Rider – Amos Hart
A D Richardson – Mary Sunshine
Venue: Phoenix Theatre
Date: Saturday 21st April 2018 (3pm)
Chicago is a very special musical for myself as it really launched my love for theatre and musicals, seeing on stage in the West End back in August 2004 so nearly 14 years ago! It felt rather fitting that considering I was in London for the Marathon when the show was making its West End revival that I just had to see it again. I was truly obsessed with the film version and that then stemmed to the theatre, since 2004 I have seen so many different shows and I really do have Chicago to thank for that!
The casting is outstanding with Ruthie Henshall becoming the first British actress to take on three different roles in the show over the years having already played both Roxie and Velma she returns to Chicago as Mamma Morton and what a truly amazing performance she puts in, those vocals are just outstanding!
I know every single word of every single song and throughly enjoyed my front row seat to see all of the musical numbers unfold. I have seen a few reviews that state it is just the same and not much different, but in all honesty it is not a show that needs to be massively revamped at all. The lyrics are clever and funny at times still showing that the same messages must be put out there (I am thinking about Class with that comment). I did come to the conclusion that to be part of this show you have to be at a very peak level of fitness, those costumes are rather tight and revealing for both men and women!
A big talking point around the opening of this production is Oscar-winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr making his West End debut as Billy Flynn. He brings a very unique style to the role and I really found myself enjoying it from start to finish. I must also mention Alan Richardson who I had the pleasure of seeing in the UK tour and so pleased he is now gracing the West End stage as Mary Sunshine as he is outstanding in that role! Great exchanges between Gooding Jr and Richardson!
Without a doubt the two standout performances come from our leading ladies Josefina Gabrielle and Sarah Soetaert as Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart. The two merry murderous women who took things into their own hands when a man tried to screw them over! The all round package from both actresses singing, dancing and acting were outstanding. Honestly they are both something else and I was blown away with each musical number and dance routine.
Chicago is a Bob Fosse musical and to this day his unique choreography and style are seen throughout the show with Ann Reinking continuing his legacy. I cannot really pick my favourite song from this show as we move through each one I think I like this the best. I will stand by All That Jazz being the best opening to a musical I have found yet! That is one of my all time favourite songs not just in a musical. I guess it is therefore safe to say that my Chicago obsession is long continuing and I wish everyone involved in this lavish production a lengthy run and would of course love to come back again!
Chicago is currently booking in London until October 2018 and Cuba Gooding Jr will finish his run on 23rd June 2018.