Chicago the Musical UK Tour review - Mayflower Southampton

 The show on everybody's lips is gonna be "Chicago The Musical". Chicago is one of those musicals that exudes with talent, sexiness and glamour. And it's a show that has hit the Mayflower Theatre stage with a bang this week. 

As it embarks on a new UK tour with a star studded cast, I was invited along to see just how much of the old razzle dazzle was in this version of the award winning show. Let me tell you, it's criminal to not go and see it.

Set in the 1920's, Chicago follows the story of a women's prison that is full of murderers and their fight to be released, whatever it takes. With the justice system being full of corruption, greed, and glamour, it's the fight to be top of the tabloids that get's you not only released, but with your name in the headlines. The mix of fake celebrities, fame from misfortune and the price of a life, is a story that still hits hard even to this day. 

In the story we meet Roxie Hart (Faye Brookes), a naive woman who just wants to be a star, but inadvertently shoots dead her lover and fails when trying to place the blame on her hapless husband. She lands herself in the care of the justice system and under the wing of Mama Morton (Sinitta). Realising that fame and fortune is the easy way to get your name not only in lights, but also off the guilty list, she fights, decieves and wins over the journalists to get her name to to the top. 

Within prison she meets her idol of sorts, Velma Kelly (Djalenga Scott). A star in her own right, who shoots not only her husband, but also her sister, when she finds them in bed together. Battling against Roxie for the place at the top of the hot list, she must decide whether working against or together is the way to go. In the fickle world of fast news and ever changing fame and fortune, which is the better path?

The casting was near enough perfect. I was absolutely blown away with Djalenga's performance as Velma Kelly and could not have picked a better casting if I tried. She embodied the character and truly was the scene stealer each time she walked on stage. Faye Brookes won us over as the captivating yet cunning Roxie Hart and Darren Day impressed me with his stage presence as he stepped into the role of Billy Flynn, the masterful manipulator lawyer that is tasked to win over the crowds of Chicago. 

I adored Divina De Campo (Mary Sunshine), who had a vocal range like no other and left me with my jaw on the floor.  How someone can be on stage for so little, yet command the stage so much is a marvel! And Joel Montague who played Amos Hart won the hearts of every audience member. His rendition of "Mister Cellophane" brought the audience to tears and I've honestly never seen it done better. 

Filled with hit songs such as "Razzle Dazzle", "All That Jazz" and "Cell Block Tango", you are thrown into the world of jazz and Fosse with a soundtrack that is hit after hit. With the set built around the band, you feel like you are watching this show in a jazz club, with actors sat around watching what is happening just like the audience. It felt intimate, raunchy, and altogether criminally good from every seat in the house. Each kick, each move, each jazz hand felt precise, purposeful and just perfectly placed. I couldn't have watched a better show. 

Chicago the Musical is one not to miss. On stage at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton until the 20th November, it then continues on a UK tour including places such as Birmingham, Liverpool, Bristol and Woking. 

*Note: Tickets were gifted, but all opinions are my own. 

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