I was invited to attend the opening night of Chicago, presented by the South Coast Choral and Arts Society (SCCAS) and from the moment the music started playing, I knew we were in for a good night.
Starring local talent of varying ages and backgrounds, the show was entertaining, engaging and it was clear that the actors and musicians and everyone involved on stage and behind the scenes had worked very hard to bring it all together.
Featuring some of the best-known songs in musical theatre including Razzle Dazzle and All That Jazz, Chicago tells the story of Roxie Hart, a woman who wants fame, fortune and excitement.
Set in Chicago in the 1920s and based on true events, Roxie kills her lover and tries her hardest to convince her simple husband, Amos, to take the blame but ultimately ends up in jail where she meets her hero, double murderess and nightclub performer Velma Kelly.
When both women employ Billy Flynn, the slickest lawyer in Chicago, tension soars as both Roxie and Velma vie for attention and fame.
The influence of the media is palpable and the manipulation is clear.
From the singing to the live music and impressive dance moves, the South Coast Choral and Arts Society gave it their all and I have no doubt will continue to do so during their sold-out season.
Local actors Ally Miller and Shannen Becket really brought Roxie and Velma to life and the personality of both characters really shone through. The manipulative nature of Roxie and the edge to Velma made the audience believe the two were developing a love hate (but mostly hate), relationship.
Jon Grear (playing Billy Flynn), Georgia Martin (Matron 'Mama' Morton), Kiara Wiese (Mary Sunshine) and Chris Stevenson (Amos Hart) stood out amongst the stellar cast.
Chris Stevenson (Amos Hart) added depth to his character as well as humour and sadness. When he was performing on stage alone, the room was silent and the audience seemed to simultaneously lean forward to hear his every word.
The intimacy of the venue meant that the actors were close and engaging and the staff working to direct people to their seats were friendly and helpful. Light refreshments were available for purchase during the twenty-minute intermission and programmes were available for purchase.
With their reputation proceeding them, it's not surprising to learn that the SCCAS has managed to sell out tickets for the entire season of Chicago, but there is a waiting list if you're interested in trying your luck.
Failing that, perhaps follow the SCCAS Facebook page or visit the website for updates on future performances including Beauty And The Beast, coming May 2022.
Keep an eye out for tickets and future shows... and all that jazz.