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Chicago
2005 Tour
Reviewed by Clive Fuller

Chicago hit the second city and made a great impact at Birmingham's Alexandra Theatre with the opening performance of a two-week booking. A capacity audience was treated to great dance numbers, strong principal performances and an enjoyable evening out.

I got the feeling that many in the audience were not seeing this show for the first time and as often is the case with long running musical tours, they build up a loyal following of dedicated fans whose enthusiasm adds to the spectacle.

The music is by the legendary John Kander and lyrics by the equally famous Fred Ebb. Their first major success was in 1966 with 'Cabaret', which had a run of 1,166 performances and won the Tony Award as the season's best musical. The original choreography was by the marvellously talented Bob Fosse and much of the atmosphere created by Ann Reinking and the talented team of dancers is down to him.

The whole evening gets off to a great musical start right from the opening number 'All that Jazz' and with orchestrations by jazz powerhouse Ralph Burns the tempo is set and the action begins. Musical director Dan Jackson and his large orchestra enjoy every minute of this rhythmic show and it is so refreshing to have a full size orchestra on tour as it adds so much to the sound quality.

Cavin Cornwall gives a strong performance as the devious lawyer Billy Flynn, hell bent on getting Roxie (Claire Taylor) off her murder charge. But it is Rachel Stanley as Velma and Taylor who get the best of the numbers and sequences throughout the production.

The comedy and pathos comes from Christopher Howell as downtrodden Amos Hart and there's a wonderful and quite bizarre cameo from CC Mullaney as Mary Sunshine. You have to see it to appreciate the twist.

But the stand out sequence is 'Razzle Dazzle' where all the sassiness and sexiness comes together and the company give it 100%. Needless to say, the audience laps it up.

There is no doubting this show, which was first performed back in 1975, is still a big success and it deserves to do great business all over the country. If you want a memorable theatre night out then this has to be it.

Copyright Clive Fuller 2005. For syndication rights, please email.

Information

Clive Fuller saw Chicago at Birmingham's Alexandra Theatre on 21st March 2005.

Chicago is currently touring the UK. For dates and venues, click here.

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