Review: Chicago @ Palace Theatre – March 19

By Bex Pocklington and Jess Wilson

The hugely popular musical Chicago hit Manchester’s Palace Theatre on Monday, bringing with it suspenders, stilettos and saucy performances from its all-star cast.

Ali Bastian rocked the stage in her role as Roxie Hart, a lowly mechanic’s wife who shot to fame in prison after killing her lover in a passionate revenge attack.

In prison she meets her one true rival in the form of Velma Kelly (Tupele Dorgu), the sassiest murderer in The Windy City.

Tensions mount between the inmates who will sacrifice almost anything for fame, fortune, and photo opportunities.

Turmoil, tears and tantrums define this laugh-out-loud performance with more spell-bounding appearances from the likes of Stefan Booth, Bernie Nolan and Alex Weatherhill.

Tupele Dorgu opened with a show-stopping performance of ‘All That Jazz’ accompanied by a fantastic orchestra that provided ample entertainment later on in the show.

Directors Ian and Watt juxtaposed the modern and the traditional in their take on the classic.

Taking black as a simplistic yet poignant theme, they captured the unique ambiance of the story as only a few before them have done.

The simplistic use of props and meticulous stage management is nothing short of exquisite.

A simple stage setting meant focus at all times was placed on the cast, but the random use of ladders and the lack of penitentiary props gave a more carnivalesque feel to the preliminary scenes.

Music provided the narrative vehicle for Ian and Watts to drive the play to its dramatic conclusion… we won’t give that away.

With outstanding acting, singing and dancing, and intricate musical performances guided by extreme artistic vision, Chicago is well worth a watch… and All That Jazz.

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