A Jazz Hot Return of the Bway classic: CHICAGO, UK Tour

It's so hard to be open minded when reviewing a show with such a historically huge success like Chicago; with the revival that made the show famous currently celebrating 20 years on Broadway as their second longest-serving resident, this UK tour is hardly anything new, but that doesn't in any way make it bad. I first saw the show back at the Cambridge Theatre in 2011 and since the show's closure, it's really fallen off of my radar.

This new tour changes that for me though: I'm already dying to see it again when it comes even closer to where I live later in the year and with a star-studded yet talented cast like this at the helm, it's a production of Chicago that deserves to be celebrated.

Chicago is renowned for its minimalist staging, Fosse choreography and its ability to literally throw anyone they can find into any of the leading roles (anyone remember when Usher took on Billy Flynn in New York a few years back?). Though the choreography has been updated by Ann Reinking and now Dean Street as time has gone on, William Ivey Long's little black costumes and the show's ability to push forward a star still remain even in this new incarnation. It's not very different at all to the recent London revival from what I can remember - perhaps the odd move here and there - but it's the casting that makes this show so different. The performance I saw didn't have Sam Bailey as Mama Morton so I can't comment on her exactly, but I can comment on John Partridge and Hayley Tamaddon for sure.

I've had a love hate relationship with John Partridge as time has gone on. I was once EastEnders obsessed many moons ago and I loved him on the show. I then saw him in the 2013 revival of A Chorus Line and loved him in that as well, but his recent turn on Celebrity Big Brother has really turned me against him. No matter if they are truly being themselves on that show or not, the perception that was given has made me bitter towards him and it made me want to hate him in Chicago, but I didn't. He is undeniably a wonderful vocalist and a fine performer as well and while his performace as Billy Flynn wasn't necessarily the most convincing portrayl I'd ever seen, it was still enjoyable nonetheless. The true star comes in the form of ex-Corrie actress Hayley Tamaddon though. Her performance as Roxie is sublime and is most definitely the best performance of this role I have ever seen; she stole the show for me. Be it her surprisingly sweet and tender vocals or her funny and heartwarming portrayl, I saw a new side to this character I knew so well: Roxie Hart's heart. I think Renee Zellwegger had managed to make me forget about that and Tamaddon sure brought it back. When I see the show again, I'm seeing it for Tamaddon's performance.

Sophie Carmen-Jones also makes a wonderful Velma Kelly in the show and managed to remind her of the character's weak yet determined side that the movie also helped me to forget; needless to say that if you haven't seen the show on stage before (or you just haven't seen it in a long time like myself) then it definitely feels fresh.  A wonderful ensemble effort is also felt throughout the performance and with familiar faces like Kerry Spark - who was recently in the revival cast of Miss Saigon - it's a show that really feels like home as well.

At the end of the day, Chicago is Chicago: timeless and always enjoyable. The music never stops being fun to listen to and though there isn't really very much story told through dialogue in the show (it does really feel like a revue of songs as opposed to a musical), you constantly think to yourself "wow, I forgot how much I loved this music!" and you're back into the throw of it. A fantastic revival of a show that arguably shouldn't have ever left the West End. All I need to do now is book my tickets to go again.

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