Taking a well loved classic show like Chicago (which has been replicated over the years around the globe) and putting a new spin on it is no easy feat. However, sometimes as a theatre lover, we have to let go of what we know and love and open our eyes to a new adaption.
Chicago is the 1920’s story of Roxie Hart, who kills her lover in cold blood and becomes a local celebrity whilst in prison standing trial. When other murderers hit the news and steal her spotlight, it becomes a trial of not who is or isn’t guilty but who can become the biggest celebrity from it.
Leicester Curves production of Chicago is fresh and raunchy and makes you look at the show in a different way. For instance, did Mamma Morton accept payment in more ways than just money? With subtle stokes to the inmates legs, these are new questions that get raised.
The set and lighting were beautiful and there was a good use of the prison cell bars throughout the show. The costumes were colourful and modern although at times felt a little unconsidered by the sound of shaking beads muffling the sound of the singing on stage. ‘Me and My Baby’ was a comedic take on the song, with backing dancers dressed as babies. The almost transgender ensemble had men in makeup and women’s underwear, giving extra emphasis to the famous line at the end of the show that ‘things are not always what they seem’. At times, the make-up could have been a little over-excessive (for both the men and women).
Unfortunate moments, like when Roxie taps on the reporters clip board and says “write that down in your book” left me wincing slightly at how inconsistencies like that could have gone unnoticed in a show of this scale.
Matthew Barrow played the role of dopey Amos perfectly. With puppy dog eyes and a face you want to slap for never standing up to his wife the way he should. Verity Rushworth was a great Velma Kelly and Gemma Sutton brought a fresh new look to Roxie Hart.
Leicester Curves production of Chicago has more similarities to the film adaptation than anything, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There are those theatre lovers who will enjoy the simplicity of the original theatre production and others that will enjoy this more up to date version like the one they saw in the cinema.
Me? I just love a bit of razzle dazzle and will roll my stockings down and rouge my knees for any Chicago production!
Chicago plays at the Curve, Leicester until 18 January 2014. Click here for tickets.