Annie Davies, centre, as Roxie, with ‘her boys’ singing Roxie Hart in Chicago. Photo: Anthony Stewart.

Chicago delivers razzle dazzle

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Chicago 

At the Theatre Royal

Reviewed by Jane Baken

Kander and Ebb, Bob Fosse collaboration musicals like Chicago are a rite of passage for any young aspiring musical theatre performer. Nelson Youth Theatre have tackled the comedic satire and stylized choreography required of this piece with a hint of modern sass and a whole lot of vintage razzle dazzle.

Chicago is a musical satire on the corruption of criminal justice and the concept of the “celebrity criminal” set in 1920s Chicago, based on real characters of the time.

The 1920s jazz-age setting is a far cry from the environment these young teen performers are accustomed to, but somehow, the content appeals to performer and audience with the result being a whole lot of vaudeville fun.

As the curtain rises for team Caitlyn, revealed is a slick black set, fashionista worthy costumes and a well-rehearsed ensemble of dancers choreographed by Alex Jensen.

The ensemble as a team is at the core of this production, 22 talented individuals who keep the whole show moving at a brilliant and seamless pace. Special mention also to the technical team who ran the show without a hitch.

Caitlin Brennan (Velma) is dynamic both vocally and in her stylishly delivered choreography.

Alex Jensen (Roxie) has such magic comedic timing. Freddy Griffiths embodied Amos, the hapless husband who completely won over the audience. Liam Brennan (Billy) played a cool lawyer with serious swag.

Bri Weir (Matron) was very strong in this challenging role. Special mention must be given to strong chorus members, Mackenzie Skye Gardner, Hannah Beggs (Liz), Seren Holden and Vaughn Birss.

This high school edition tames some of the more risqué subject matter and substitutes a few of the original dialogue choices, which I think is an appropriate decision by the company. Four out of five stars.