Chicago (Tour - Oxford)
The opening line promises excitement and ‘razzle dazzle’ but sadly the opening number (All that Jazz) didn’t live up to its potential and lacked the crisp sharp movements characteristic of Fosse, some dancers were out of sync with one another and the whole number lacked energy. However, it only got better and by the time ‘Cell Block Tango’ came around the dancing was great. Special mention goes to Matt Krzan and Melanie Cripps who were the stand out dancers commanding the attention of the audience in a stage full of movement.
Tupele Dorgu gave an excellent portrayal of Velma Kelly and was the star of the show. Particularly impressive was her stamina in ‘I can’t do it alone’. It is clear from her movement and lines that she is a well-trained dancer and her voice didn’t disappoint. Sadly the same cannot be said for her co-star Ali Bastian, who sang sweetly and captured the doe eyed Roxie in the early part of the show well but failed to transform into the sassy jailbird. Her dancing was lacking in attack and characteristic of someone untrained and low in confidence. The difference in ability between her and Dorgu was particularly prevalent in the closing number when Bastian was completely outshone.
Genevieve Nicole gave an adequate performance as Mama, she clearly has a great voice but it lacked the gravel that is usually present and although she acted with her face she failed to commit her body to the performance and remained rather still.
Stefan Booth had a shaky start as Billy Flynn, there was a hint of an Australian accent when he told Roxie she would need $5000 for his services, but he came into his own in Act 2 and gave a strong and credible performance. Jamie Baughan provoked sympathy from the crowd as Amos Hart and sang sweetly.
This is not one of the best productions I have seen of Chicago, and I have seen many, but even an average production of this show is worth a watch, so head on down to the New Theatre and give it a go.