Chicago at The Liverpool Empire Theatre

Posted on 12 September 2016
By Chris High
  • Share:

The cast might be more recognisable from the small screen but rest assured this production of Chicago which is currently running at The Liverpool Empire, is still larger-than-life enough to fill the biggest of stages. With all the bangs and bops of the silver screen version, but with the intimacy and warmth of all the greats, this is a show with so much added fizz F. Scott Fitzgerald himself would be lapping it up.

At the heart – pardon the pun – of the action is Roxy Hart. Accused of murdering her lover and awaiting trial in Cook County Penitentiary, she connives and schemes her way to freedom by using all that God gave her. That the nub of the story is true somehow adds a poignancy to proceedings, though, that belies its overall light heartedness.

Playing Roxy is the somewhat diminutive Haley Tamaddon. In previous productions the role has been taken by an actress with a good deal more in the height department, but Tamaddon more than makes up this by delivering what can only be described as being a powerhouse vocal and dance performance that’s brim full of charm and exuberance.

Superb too is John Partridge, whose slimy Billy Flynn oozes charisma – at a price – particularly during the oxygen sapping number, All I Care About. It is also clear that his early years experience comes more from the ballet studio as he can still more than hold his own in a shuffle.

Jessie Wallace doesn’t have a lot to sing as Mama Morton but what she does she nails down with a singing voice that a few might find surprisingly rich. Her nuances bring laughs in all the right places and more than a few ‘ahhs’ when she has to deliver the bad news to one of ‘her family’. It’s a shame that her time is so limited.

As the poor sap that is Amos Hart, Neill Ditt wrings every semblance of emotion for the poor loser his character is supposed to be so that by the time his song, Mr. Cellophane, comes around the audience are right on his side and cheerily wave him off so that his character can finally smile. Superb too as Mary Sunshine is A D Richardson, who has a vocal range to die for.

Yet it has to be said that in a cast bubbling over with talent, that Sophie Carmen-Jones as Velma Kelly – Roxy’s nemesis – is a cut above. Here is an actress with a stage presence that could light the dimmest of stages, with dynamism, dexterity and delightful diction that simply drips class. All That Jazz and I Know a Girl are both delivered with such confidence it is a joy to be in the audience.

With a superb grip on the lighting, a ten piece live orchestra belting out some of the best syncopated rhythms and melodies around, and with an array of scantily sewn costumes to marvel at, Chicago is one of those it’s hard not to like simply because it has just about everything.

The Liverpool Empire Theatre
September 12 – September 17, 2016
Cast Includes: Haley Tamaddon, Jessie Wallace, John Partridge,Sophie Carmen-Jones, Neil Ditt
Running Time: 2 hrs 30 mins
PR Rating: **** Still Razzle Dazzles

Notice: Undefined index: query in /home/purplerevolver/public_html/wp-content/themes/purple-revolver/single.php on line 57

Notice: Undefined index: v in /home/purplerevolver/public_html/wp-content/themes/purple-revolver/single.php on line 58