All That Jazz!
Posted by News Editor
Posted in News
Review: Chicago – Mayflower, Southampton – for all that jazz, and a whole lot more besides!
Words: Beccy Conway
Images: Catherine Ashmore
Visit the Mayflower this week and you’ll find yourself smack bang in the roaring 20s, where Jazz and debauchery are the orders of the day.
Based on the true stories of the women on ‘murderous row’, Chicago is the ultimate celebration of prohibition-era glamour.
John Partridge is no stranger to the stage, having starred in West End productions of CATS and Miss Saigon, and his portrayal of the smooth-talking attorney Billy Flynn is comical and fittingly slimy.
Hayley Tamaddon plays Roxie Hart, scorned adulterer turned murderer with a penchant for the limelight, at whatever cost. Her performance is enthusiastic, perhaps overly so at times, but she has the audience laughing aloud during her scene as a ventriloquist’s doll, controlled by Partridge’s Flynn as he schools her in the art of the courtroom in Act 1.
All That Jazz in Chicago – Sultry, Smouldering – Delightfully Ruthless
Without a doubt Sophie Carmen-Jones is the most engaging performer of the show. Sultry, smouldering and delightfully ruthless, Carmen-Jones wows as the murderous show girl, Velma Kelly. Having been an ensemble member in a number of West-End shows, it’s great to see Carmen-Jones grasping this starring role with both manicured hands.
Sam Bailey, of X Factor fame, shows off her vocal skills in this first musical theatre role, portraying the matriarchal prison warden Mama Morton, drawing a neat parallel with her pre-stardom life when Bailey worked as an officer at HM Prison Gartree.
If nothing else, go and see Chicago for the orchestra, which performs the multi-award winning score live onstage from the bandstand around which the set is based.
The talented musicians and charismatic conductor steal the show. The band, combined with the fabulous ensemble’s array of scandalous costumes, and the simple but highly effective lighting design, really brings alive the atmosphere of the 1920s.
Including songs like ‘All That Jazz’ and original choreography created by musical theatre legend Bob Fosse, for fans of cabaret Chicago is one not to be missed!