My weekend was busy, but somehow I found time to go and watch in Chicago, everyone’s favourite musical about singing murderesses. She asked me to make a blog post about it, and as I usually find it convenient to act on requests from beautiful women…
I think there can’t have been many in the audience who didn’t have the excellent movie somewhere in their minds as the house lights dimmed. It’s impossible not to make comparisons, but at the same time you must realise the limitations of a cabaret theatre in comparison to a movie. Unfortunately, cutaways in the movie even foreshadowed what could be done on the stage.
Rather sensibly, the production went for a minimalist style. The costumes were spare of detail and, well, material; the few set dressings were reused well. The musical accompaniment was about the maximum that could physically fit in the space, I had expected to see a trio for some reason.
The movie opens with interspliced scenes of Roxie and Velma and the lead-in to Roxie’s affair and Velma’s murder. Velma’s singular appearance in the stage version was less clear in its implications, and so I think someone watching for the first time might have been confused. But from there on, there is only additional material in the live version compared to the movie. I estimate about 40 minutes of additional dialogue and music, but didn’t have a watch on me.
With the movie so prominently in my mind I had a lot of difficulty figuring out an opinion on the leads that wasn’t “they’re not movie stars.” The two female leads were both a lot older and more, er, substantial than in the movie. I decided it almost worked, but it was hard to overlook the chorus, almost all of whom were more attractive and better dancers. Nagging in the superficial part of my brain was that rather unworthy thought. Whether they could sing, I’m less certain.
Aside from the lingering ambiguity of the two leads, I found all of the main cast to be solid. Indeed, I eventually decided that Amos and Billy Flynn were as good as their movie counterparts, if somewhat less glamorous.
Overall then, I’d say that this production was as good as you could reasonably expect: a thoroughly enjoyable evening at the theatre.
I think Giffy’s intent may have been for me to single out her virtues in the chorus. However, the kinds of comments merited aren’t really appropriate for a married friend, so let it suffice for me to say “golly” and hope that Eric’s constitution is a strong one. 😉