Review: Chicago at the Grand Opera House

The true story behind Chicago the musical is an interesting read, and one where in a city run by gangsters in 1924, easy access to firearms resulted in a ‘murderess row’ in Cook County Jail.

Chicago was originally written by Maurine Watkins, a journalist, as a fictional satirical comedy based on the murders she had reported on. In 1974 the play was recreated as a musical, and this week, that musical plays in the Grand Opera House.

Starring Hayley Tamaddon as Roxie Hart, Sophie Carmen-Jones as Velma Kelly, Jessie Wallace as Mama Morton and John Partridge as Billy Flynn, the production brought us Chicago musical classics including All That Jazz, Hot Honey Rag, Razzle Dazzle and Mister Cellophane.

From the get go with Velma and company performing All that Jazz, to the company finale, we were swept along on this musical journey of murder and lies.

As each of the stars of the show appeared on stage, you could see the audience look at each other and nodding, confirming with each other that yes, they could perform. None more so than when Jessie Wallace appeared, we could almost see the sigh of relief then affirmation at the end of When You’re Good To Mama, that yes, Jessie was a revelation. Far removed from her role in Eastenders, she impressed the audience as heads nodded with approval throughout the theatre.

With classic Fosse jazz hands, and great vocals, this production of Chicago received a well deserved standing ovation. What a spectacle, and like the much talked about costumes by the dancers, Chicago doesn’t fail to impress and leave you wanting to come home and download the movie soundtrack.

The show is almost sold out with best availability on the Thursday matinee. 

If you’re going, enjoy the Razzle Dazzle and have your jazz hands ready.

Jeff Meredith

Post Author: Belfast Times

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