Chicago is being hailed as Melbourne's big summer musical, an unmissable experience these holidays. A two-month run at the Arts Centre's stunning State Theatre ensures there are ample opportunities for Chicago fans to attend.
The cast transports us to the debauched 1920s, with the story revolving around Roxie Hart's desire for notoriety, which she hopes will spare her from the death penalty for killing her lover. Her fame displaces that of the intimidating Velma Kelly, a vaudeville star who had double-murdered her philandering husband and sister. This is a tale which has only become more relevant with time, as celebrity culture has transformed into something more personal and pervasive than could have been imagined when Chicago was written.
Twenty-one fast-paced musical numbers tell us the story, giving each character an opportunity to draw us into their world. The stage is brimming with talent, with some of Australia's biggest names taking the lead roles. Natalie Bassingthwaighte portrays fame-seeking murderess Roxie Hart, beside Alinta Chidzey as Roxie's rival celebrity criminal Velma Kelly. Each shines on their own, but a highlight is their joint musical numbers towards the end. Jason Donovan appears as their crafty lawyer Billy Flynn. Casey Donovan assumes the role of Mama Morton, her impressive performance of When You're Good to Mama drawing a hearty applause from the audience. Another highlight is Rodney Dobson's portrayal of Roxie's meek husband Amos Hart. His song Mister Cellophane encapsulates his character, inviting the audience to both laugh at and feel sorry for him.
The leads are supported by a talented ensemble. The Cell Block Tango showcases the vocal ability of some of the supporting cast, in a memorable musical number. An onstage orchestra is the backdrop to the show, with the actors occasionally interacting with band members in their pursuit of attention. Together, the cast delivers a faithful performance of the well-loved musical that will satisfy fans of previous stage productions or the 2002 film.
While the level of talent from each performer is breathtaking, Chicago is above all a fun and watchable show. The performance makes for an enjoyable night out, and you will be tapping along to the catchy musical numbers in the days that follow.
The musical opened earlier this year in Sydney, before landing in Brisbane and finally in Melbourne on the 19th of December, with the last show to be performed on the 23rd of February.
Tickets can be purchased via Ticketmaster. Ticket prices range from $59.90 to $189.90 per person.