Chicago and All that Jazz

Chicago and All that Jazz

 

The Holroyd Community Theatre hosted Moreton’s home-grown production of Chicago. Ahead of its official opening and with temporary lighting and sound, the setting gave the girls their first taste of a professional venue.

Chicago explores the transient nature of celebrity status, and how apt a theme in an age where celebrity can mean anything from eating insects in the jungle to an anaemic social media influencer.

Produced and directed by Head of Drama, Kate Howells, this vaudeville of musical theatre transported the audience to prohibition 1920’s Chicago: smoky, gritty, sensationalist, it really did have ‘All that Jazz’.

Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly learn to manipulate others as they tussle for notoriety, and let’s be clear, Kim Kardashian’s idea of media manipulation is small-scale compared to these women! Chicago really ‘can’t resist a reformed sinner’ and the newspaper’s readership are capricious sycophants – happy to move on to the next big story on a daily basis.

The performance started with a slick, toe-tapping production number ‘All that Jazz’ and continued in Howells’ usual well-energised fashion. The performers moved into each formation and position with such style and attention to detail.

Abby introduced and carried the narrative through her role as announcer, while Alysha once again stepped into a role which seemed perfect for her, playing Billy Flynn the ‘silver tongued prince of the courtroom’. Her performance was comedic genius. A self-seeking lawyer, Billie waved his jazz hands and allowed every member of his entourage to fawn! An able puppeteer, he pulled the defendant’s strings with consummate ease.

In amongst the comedy were moments of pathos. A beleaguered Mr Cellophane’s simple invisibility was performed so ably by Belinda and reduced some audience members to tears. As the song progressed, Belinda’s voice echoed through The Holroyd Theatre. Her musicality and tone were awe-inspiring.

Leading raunchy protagonists Roxie, played by Milly and Jemima respectively, and Velma, played by Megan, excelled in their roles as ambitious and calculating murderesses, stepping over each other with a ‘rhinestone heel’. Their razzle dazzle voices captivated and enchanted the audience. They were competing for attention as much as their freedom – which mattered more?

Mamma Morton epitomised the corrupt and capitalist society that pervaded the era. ‘When you’re good to Mamma, Mamma’s good to you’. Money motivates. Both Kundai and Olivia  covet cash. Their every statement had a transactional bent.

As always, the ensemble numbers were crafted with precision and flair. Every member of the cast performed with energy and élan.

Roxie and Velma’s story ends with a sensational double act, but the symbolism looms large – guns become props. One is left reflecting on where sensationalist stories, propaganda and self-interest will lead. 

An excellent production, with an equally professional venue. 

- Georgia (L5)