book by Fred Ebb & Bob Fosse lyrics by Fred Ebb music by John Kander based on the play Chicago by Maurine Dallas Watkins.
Coliseum Theatre Fairbottom Street OL1 3SW To 12 October 2013.
Tue-Sat 7.30pm Mat Sat 2.30pm.
Audio-descdribed 11 Oct.
Post-show Discussion 10 Oct.
Runs 2hr 25min One interval.
TICKETS: 0161 624 2829.
Review: Stoon 25 September 2013.
Chicago twins with Oldham – on merit.
Accusing Chicago of being plot-lite may be considered overgenerous – regardless that the flimsy narrative makes Herculean demands of presentation and cast to ensure a rewarding production. The Coliseum deserve credit for their 40/60 hybrid which delivers enough glitz allied to a pair of strong jailbird performances to justify your ticket.
They’re fortunate to have both Marianne Benedict (Velma) and Helen Power (Roxie) under lock and key – the former has great presence which authenticates her as Queen Bee of all cells , a hint of Louise Brooks in appearance and pout do no harm to her cause either.
In comparison Roxie’s more measured shrinking violet persona suits her newbie-kid in-the-stocks role, but there’s a need to bloom slightly as her Celeb factor outgrows Velma’s shade. It’s her effortless choreography which makes her shine though, a cut above all others and at home in the Premier Musical Division. Adam Booth as the shyster agent keeps the male end up too and completes the triumvirate of Kingpins.
As for that glitz? Well the costumes measure up but early doors (essentially a procession of ballads) the limited stage area somewhat pigeonholes the dancers, literally clipping their wings and stifling fluidity and verve (surely the band space could shrink). It’s clean cut too, lacking the requisite sleaziness (sassiness) – all of which makes for perfectly adequate viewing, albeit minus the extravaganza.
Thing’s step up once Velma and Roxie get fully involved and despite the end petering-out a bit, their contributions make it all worthwhile.
Given limited resources and ticket revenue it’s unfair to compare The Coliseum’ s production with similar from established regional big hitters who undoubtedly offer more polished affairs – better rather to applaud ambition which succeeds in rewarding a decision to step out of their usual programming comfort zone so successfully – not a template but let’s hope not a one-off either.
Amos: Adam Barlow.
Fred Casey / Aaron: Adam Baxter.
Velma: Marianne Benedict.
Billy Flynn: Adam C Booth.
Annie: Ellie Rose Boswell.
Hunyak: Zoei Cozens.
June: Clara Darcy.
Mama Morton: Shirley Darroch.
Liz: Nicola Hawkins.
Roxie Hart: Helen Power.
Mona: Sarah Scowen.
Director: Kevin Shaw.
Lighting: Jason Taylor.
Sound: Lorna Munden.
Musical Director: John Morton.
Choreographer: Beverley Edmunds.