The merry murderesses are back – Chicago has glided back to South-East London, this time led by the much-loved Eastenders star, Jessie Wallace. A scintillating, witty musical celebrating corruption in style is spending a week seducing the Churchill Theatre in Bromley.
The story follows sweet little Jazz singer Roxie Hart as she attempts to cover up the murder of her lover and avoid the death penalty. As she meets her fellow inmates at the Cook County Jail, she soon learns that murder is merely a form of entertainment, and as long as you give the jury a bit of ‘razzle dazzle’ you can get away with anything.
Chicago has an identity that can’t be messed with, and the production in its current form only nurtures this distinct character. The Fosse-style choreography is brilliantly executed across the board, although could use a little refreshing from previous productions.
The current cast have it all – the looks, the character and the talent. Hayley Tamaddon strikes the perfect balance between Roxie Hart’s innocence and deceitful nature while Sophie Carmen-Jones gives a masterclass in how to be a true triple threat. They are the perfect pair and hold the show with class.
Accompanying them is the wickedly smooth John Partridge, who has settled into the role fantastically. His sophisticated, polished performance never falters and his puppet-themed duet with Hayley, ‘We Both Reached for the Gun’, is one of the musical’s highlights. Jessie Wallace, as the new woman on the block, doesn’t let the side down, brilliantly taking over from Sam Bailey as Matron ‘Mama’ Morton. Who’d have thought a soap star could boast such strong vocals while keeping her flair for character at the highest level.
Other mentions must go to the endearingly sweet Amos Hart, played by Neil Ditt, for easily winning over the audience, and A D Richardson’s Mary Sunshine for simply stunning vocals.
This production boasts the best balance between celebrity casting and theatrical talent, making it a popular choice for everyone. Sexy, sharp and packed with artistry – be prepared to be amazed by Chicago on tour and grab your tickets before they sell out.
Chicago is at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley, until Saturday 15th October before continuing its tour of the UK. Tickets are still available online.